Agricultural product amendment bill

South Africa’s Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Bill is set to become law after the national assembly approved it in February 2023, after which it was shared to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence. The Bill, which was tabled in parliament in August 2021, seeks to tighten controls on sales and exports of certain agricultural products and promote food safety. 

The portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform, and rural development adopted the Bill with amendments, including a new clause on the designation of assignees by the Minister. 

The select committee on land reform, environment, mineral resources, and energy invites comments on the bill, which will be accepted up to 9 May 2023. 

The Bill seeks to amend the Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990, by inserting and substituting definitions, providing for auditing of a product for management control systems, and making provisions for the setting of tariffs by assignees on a cost-recovery basis. The Bill also makes provision for the Minister to make regulations pertaining to audit and management control systems, along with associated matters. 

The proposed amendments to the Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990, are expected to improve quality control and promote food safety in South Africa. The Bill seeks to ensure that all agricultural products sold and exported from South Africa meet certain quality and safety standards, and that the regulatory framework for agricultural production, health, and food safety is strengthened. 

The Bill’s summary, published in Government Gazette 44603 in May 2021, highlights the need for tighter control systems in areas of labelling claims in products for sale. This will ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information regarding the products that they consume. 

The Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Bill is a welcome development in the promotion of food safety and quality control in South Africa. The Bill’s provisions for tighter control systems and stricter regulations for agricultural production, health, and food safety are expected to have far-reaching benefits for both the country’s agricultural sector and consumers. The NCOP’s invitation for comments on the bill until 9 May 2023, presents an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input on the Bill and shape the future of the country’s agricultural sector. 

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