Rural Development

Programme 8.

Rural Development

Firstly, we need to understand the space in which we are working in; hence we first need to define what “Rural areas” is. According to Rural Development Framework: May 1997, it defines “Rural areas” as a sparsely populated areas in which people farm or depend on natural resources, including the villages and small towns that are dispersed through these areas. In addition, they include the large settlements in the former homelands, created by the apartheid removals, which depend for their survival on migratory labour and remittances.

The rural development programme is responsible for Planning & Coordinating all provincial and private sector government initiatives and projects directed to ‘rural areas’ in achieving National Development Plan and Free State Growth & Development Strategy.

This is achieved through Coordinating, Facilitating, Catalysing and Initiating the Implementation of a Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP), which is a full expression of outcome 7 and support of other outcomes, that leads to vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities while ensuring food security for all.

Rural development is a cross-cutting programme that calls for partnerships with multiple stakeholders both within and outside government. The programme emphasis is on community and its people to take a centre stage and lead development in their own communities and take charge of their lives and destiny. In order to address matters concerning people living in rural arrears, a study was conducted and was found that the following issues need to be addressed, to minimise influx of these people to urban areas with the hope of seeking better living conditions. The following were highlighted as key requirements: –

  • Institutional development: helping rural people set the priorities in their own communities, through effective and democratic bodies, by providing the local capacity and access to funds for them to plan and implement local economic development;
  • Investment in basic infrastructure and social services: the provision of physical infrastructure (e.g. housing, water and power supplies, transport) and social services (e.g. basic health care and schools);
  • Improving income and employment opportunities: by broadening access to natural resources (e.g. arable and grazing land, irrigation water, woodland and forests);
  • Restoration of basic economic rights to marginalised rural areas: by establishing periodic markets as the organising spatial and temporal framework for development;
  • Resource conservation: investing efforts in the sustainable use of natural resources; and
  • Justice, equity and security: dealing with the injustices of the past and ensuring the safety and security of the rural population, especially that of women.

The essence of rural development lies in creation of capacities of the people, especially the rural poor, for sustained self-development so that they may play a meaningful participatory role in their development. In order of the rural people to play a more meaningful role in their own development, they need to be empowered with the skills and knowledge so as they may gain confidence in themselves.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has introduced programme 8 to deal with these inadequacies, through the following sub-units: –

  1. Institutional Coordination
  2. Agrarian Transformation
  3. Rural Infrastructure Development
  4. Social Organisation & Mobilization
  5. Rural Livelihood & Food Security

The purpose of this programme is to plan, facilitate development and social cohesion through participatory approaches in partnership with all stakeholders.

  1. Institutional Coordination

This sub-unit is responsible for mending relationships between government entities, communities and private sector. Since government, has in the past been accused of parachuting its programmes/projects within communities, this unit therefore serves an entry to these communities through “Participatory Rural Appraisal” (PRA).

It sets a tone and thus paving the way for projects to be implemented in communities, by setting up structures like Council of Stakeholders (CoS), which seeks to find the issues on the ground and working with communities and come up with mechanisms to address them.

CoS encompasses the following: –

  • Traditional leadership and or Ward Councillors
  • Government Officials (Both Departmental and Municipal officials)
  • Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • Community Based Organisations (CBOs)
  • Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs)
  • Private sector/Business etc.

CoS is established to enlist/take-note of all projects by communities, and then with the aid of communities prioritise them in accordance to great/most to lease need, taking account of plans already featured or committed in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) of the area.

This unit is also responsible to tracking progress performance in the Province in relation of Outcome 7 and thus update and report accordingly to National.

  1. Agrarian Transformation

The sub-unit is about changing the manner in which rural areas are viewed. This comes from the literal translation of the word, “Transformation”, meaning “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance”, it seeks to facilitate a rapid and fundamental change in the relations (systems and patterns of ownership and control) of land, livestock, cropping and community, by coordinating and leading all the provincial initiatives within rural space.

It focuses on, but not limited to, the establishment of business initiatives, agro-industries, co-operatives, cultural initiatives and vibrant local markets in rural settings, the empowerment of rural people and communities with attention mainly on women and youth and the revitalisation of old and revamping of new economic, social and information and communication infrastructure, public amenities and facilities in rural areas, including villages and small rural towns. Over and above, to coordinate activities to create data base of unemployed rural youth to participate on the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) Programme

The main objective of the sub-unit is to coordinate general support to restitution farms, agri-villages and rural initiatives.

Agrarian Transformation is depended on the following pillars: –

  • Community
  • Cropping
  • Land
  • Livestock

Agrarian transformation strategy

  1. Rural Infrastructure Development

This sub-unit is responsible for infrastructure backlog in rural areas. After consultation with local government structures and community it then facilitation the provision of all rural infrastructure projects as tabled/prioritised during CoS, but prior to that, it first they conduct projects scope assessment, followed by project scope and where possible project plan. Still, this is also done with close cooperation of the national and provincial line departments involved including local municipalities.

  1. Social Organisation & Mobilization

This sub-unit complements the work that was done through War on Poverty (WoP) programme. It seeks to identify needs through profiling of the communities and the households, and thus develop a database of households living in poverty, to assess which government services individuals within households and communities are eligible for but are not receiving, what specific government interventions are relevant to the needs of the particular household members and the community and communicate to the relevant implementing agents for follow up.

It works intertwine with other government initiatives like Operation Hlasela that seeks to ensure maximum impact in terms of addressing service delivery backlogs while in the same time eliminating duplication and wastage. It focus is on mass mobilisation, service delivery intervention, collaboration and partnerships through “Blitz” to fulfil the notion of “working together we can do more”.

  1. Rural Livelihood & Food Security

Working together with other sub-units, its mandate is to curb food insecurity and promote a healthy living standard with in communities and households especially. It enforces the country’s constitution: “Bill of Rights” which enshrines the right of all people and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom, (e.g. Section 27: Health care, food, water and social security) emphases the following rights: –

  • Everyone has the right to have access to-
  • health care services, including reproductive health care;
  • sufficient food and water; and
  • social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. (World Food Summit, 1996)

This widely accepted definition points to the following dimensions/key factors of food security:

Food availability:  The availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports (including food aid).

Food access:        Access by individuals to adequate resources (entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Entitlements are defined as the set of all commodity bundles over which a person can establish command given the legal, political, economic and social arrangements of the community in which they live (including traditional rights such as access to common resources).

Utilization:            Utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met. This brings out the importance of non-food inputs in food security.

Stability:               To be food secure, a population, household or individual must have access to adequate food at all times. They should not risk losing access to food as a consequence of sudden shocks (e.g. an economic or climatic crisis) or cyclical events (e.g. seasonal food insecurity). The concept of stability can therefore refer to both the availability and access dimensions of food security.

This sub-unit working together with other stakeholders, like Department of Health, Social Development, Education, Water Affairs etc. seeks to increasing food production and distribution, as well as supporting community-based and small holder production in the Province. 5 Key focus areas/pillars are set as the foundation for the implementation of food security in the Province: –

  1. Improved safety nets,
  2. Improved nutrition education,
  3. Alignment of investment in agriculture,
  4. Improved market participation and
  5. Risk management.

The objectives includes: –

  1. To provide an effective mechanism for the coordination and collaboration of national, provincial and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) inputs and resources in the pursuance of the common goal of increasing household food security and rural livelihood.
  1. Ensure the establishment of effective support structures for famers through capacity building and institutional strengthening for their improved participation.
  2. To demonstrate opportunities for diversification and increasing income through the production of vegetables.
  1. To build an effective capacity at local level through intensive training and access to information that will provide effective support services to the farming communities.
  1. To evaluate the impact of the interventions, to identify gaps and quantify any constraints that still need to addressed and make recommendations for extending pilot activities into a broader development initiatives.
  1. To ensure qualitative and quantitative production of food commodities within identified food insecure communities.

Overall Objective of the Rural Development through CRDP