Fynbos statutory measures, gazetted in January 2020 for public comments, has allegedly still not received approval from the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza.
As prescribed in the MAP Act, ‘once a statutory measure was approved by the Minister of Agriculture (henceforth referred to as the Minister) and promulgated in the Government Gazette, it becomes enforceable and legal action may be taken against those who fail to adhere to it.’
The Cape Flora SA, representing the fynbos industry said it was not aware of the delay in approval.
“The measures have been approved by the NAMC and submitted to the Minister for sign-off and Gazetting. NAMC have followed up with DALRRD but I am not sure what the exact progress is” said Anton Rabe, Chief Executive Officer at Hortgro SA.
However, sources within the department allege that the DG including the Minister have not laid eyes on the submission neither signing it off.
In 2016, the fynbos statutory measure was approved for 4 years and had expired in April 2020. “The new continuation was supposed to kick into effect on 1 May 2020, after the Minister having approved and signing it off for final gazetting, paving a way for Cape Flora SA to collect export levies from producers” said the source.
October to January was fynbos main export season with a peak in early November providing higher volumes to markets such as Netherlands, Europe and Asia
“Low volumes are currently being marketed but all exporters are working with the Association and are collecting levies at the new levels which effectively kicked in on 1 May given that the measures have been approved” said Hortgro.
The fynbos industry depended on these export levies to fund generic functions such as research, market development, transformation and export markets.
Rabe was confident the final gazetting would be completed in the next few weeks.
The departments spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo could not be reached for comments.