National Extension Policy
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Transitions in the forest sector

The structure of the forest industry like agriculture is also deeply divided. According DAFF (2012) 57% of the 1.3 million ha under commercial forestry is owned and operated by corporate growers, 25% by private producers, 14% by the State and 4% by small growers. Small enterprises account for not more than 5% of the jobs in the industry which runs counter to the global trend where small enterprises account for more than 60% of employment in the forest sector (DAFF, 2010b). Some 170,000 people work in the forest sector, of which nearly two-thirds are in commercial forestry. These include about 30,000 small-scale growers most of whom are women (DAFF, 2010b: 6).
The potential for Land Restitution to restructure the Forest sector will need to be a key component of a forestry extension policy. Research commissioned for the development of the Integrated Small Enterprise Development Strategy for the Forest Sector in South Africa (ISEDSFS) indicates that: 
“More than 40% of the plantation resources in the country (+ 500 000 ha) will change hands from state and private ownership to black community ownership over the next few years. This will introduce a new ownership class that have no or very little previous experience in operating forestry enterprises. The sheer scale of this endeavour has far reaching consequences for the forest sector”.(DAFF, 2010b: 10)
ISEDSFS also established that “the single biggest need expressed by small scale operators across all forest sub-sectors is for technical support services, in particular business advice and planning services, to assist them to restructure, optimise, recapitalise and/or expand their business operations”(DAFF, 2010b: 3-4). The strategy proposes the institution of a grant to match spending by grower cooperatives on forestry extension services.
While employment opportunities are important the contribution made by forest products to the livelihoods of the poor should not be underestimated. DAFF Forest Officers provide various, if limited forms of support to small growers and natural resource users. These services currently remain on the periphery of formal extension service delivery and will need to be mainstreamed. The relationship between the State and the private sector will be key.

Click the image for a view of: Commercial plantations
Commercial plantations
Posted: 6/26/2012 (8:09:44 AM)


 "A key component that inform future extension support for current and future forestry land reform is the introduction of multiple landuse"
Rory Mack Posted: 10/12/2012 2:16:34 AM

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