Pretoria — The Departments of Trade and Industry (dti) and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) have finalised the Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP) which will assist new entrants and existing aquaculture ventures.
ADEP is aimed at increasing investments in the sector as well as enhancing competitiveness and increasing employment opportunities.
Dti Minister Rob Davies said the programme is an intervention towards mitigating the financial challenges identified in the aquaculture sector and a response to a need identified in the National Aquaculture Strategic Framework (NASF) developed by DAFF.
"The framework has discovered that limited access to finance and competition with other countries are two of the main challenges that threaten to inhibit the growth of the sector which is still at its infancy stage in South Africa," said Davies on Sunday.
The programme is meant to attract investment with the purpose of addressing government priorities of job creation, broadening participation in the sector while it will also encourage rural development and food security while growing the sector through increased production.
The aquaculture sector is one of the value-adding sectors that embody a combination of relatively high employment and growth multipliers that are being prioritised by government through the Industrial Policy Action Plan and the New Growth Path.
"Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food production sector in the world, growing at an annual rate of 8 to 10% per annum over the last two decades," the minister said, adding that the South African sector showed growth of only 3% in 2010. The slow pace could be attributed to lack of integrated plans and government involvement in driving development of the sector.
Davies expressed confidence that the interventions that government has proposed through the NASF, including the ADEP, promotion of investment in production and support infrastructure, and the establishment of industry/farmer support and management programmes are expected to lead to substantially increased investment in the aquaculture sector.
This in turn will result in increased production, job creation, broadening of participation and diversification of the sector.
The programme opens for applications on Saturday (15 December 2012). Guidelines on the qualifying criteria and how to access the programme will be available on the dti website.