Media statement presented by Ms Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, the Gauteng MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, to elaborate on departmental programmes based on the Premier's 2011/12 State of the Province Address
22 Feb 2011
Good Morning, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my pleasure to present the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's (GDARD) elaboration on the State of the Province Address delivered by the Honourable Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on 21 February 2011.
GDARD's programme is guided by one of the strategic priorities of the province, namely: “Stimulating Rural Development and Food Security” and by Outcome 7 which is about “Vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security for all” and Outcome 10 which is about “Protected and enhanced environmental assets and natural resources.”
“The key focus for the 2011/12 financial year will be aligned to what both the State President and the Premier alluded to in regard to the “creation of decent jobs and intensification of delivering adequate services to our communities”.
Agriculture is labour intensive and provides employment opportunities to semi-skilled people, and particularly unskilled people. The Agricultural Sector in Gauteng was sustaining a total of 36 560 employment opportunities by 2009. During quarter one to quarter three of 2010/11, over 11 350 new jobs were created within the sector.
This number accounts for almost 2% of the total employees (including agro-processing) across all sectors in the province. This demonstrates that the Agricultural sector remains one of the key job-creating sectors in the province. To ensure improved employment opportunities and economic livelihoods, GDARD will create about 2 000 decent jobs in the agro-processing industry during 2011/12, including in maize milling, poultry, piggery, meat processing, vegetables and fruits, dairy, etc. GDARD has also already recruited 1 190 youth that are currently being trained to profile households in the rural areas.
GDARD together with GDED launched the Maize Triangle Revitalisation programme in the Vaal. This included support of 32 farmers through mechanisation and production inputs. Twelve tractors with implements were allocated to the Maize Triangle with more tractors and implements on the way through the assistance of National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). GDARD will roll out this programme to the West Rand and Metsweding Districts during 2011/12 as part of working towards food security and Gauteng Provincial 2055 Vision. Other forms of support to other land reform beneficiaries included skills training, access to finance and to markets locally and abroad, extension services, technical advice, irrigation, farmer information days, animal vaccinations, etc, 3 382 food gardens were also supported during 2010/11.
To ensure improved rural services to support livelihoods, GDARD will launch the Gauteng Comprehensive Rural Development Strategy in Devon during this quarter of 2010/11, in partnership with the Lesedi/Sedibeng Municipalities and other provincial departments. This program will be rolled out to other rural nodes, i.e. Hekpoort, Sokhulumi and Bantu-Bonke during 2011/12. The key focus will be provision of road infrastructure including electricity to stimulate agricultural economic development, on-farm agricultural infrastructure, mobile clinics; and, libraries. More Thusong Services Centres will be established to provide information, allow ease of application for identity documents, social grants and other government services.
To ensure sustainable agrarian reform with a thriving small and large farming sector, during 2011/12, GDARD will establish 60 agricultural co-operatives with vibrant local markets, provide research and development programs, support 20 co-operatives with agro-processing facilities, host agricultural expositions in partnership with existing exhibition institutions as part of our commitment to provide information and agricultural trade, and facilitate zero hunger/ siyazondla campaign by supporting 11 000 food gardens.
GDARD will continue to protect and enhance our environmental assets and natural resources and create green jobs through EPWP and the following programmes:
- Sustainable use and management of land and waste through projects such as Clean and Green, Bontle ke Botho (BkB), wetlands rehabilitation (river cleanup and rehabilitation of Jukskei River in Alexandra, Klipspruit River in Soweto and wetlands rehabilitation in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, etc., and re-cycling campaigns that ensure an environment that is not harmful to people's health or wellbeing, as stipulated in the country's Constitution. The Waste Management Strategy will be launched during 2011/12 to monitor waste and cleanliness standards.
- Addressing the impact of climate change and improving the air quality in the province by completing and rolling out the Climate Change Response Strategy to enable the department to mitigate impacts of climate change and adapt to investable changes.
- Addressing environmental impact related to mining by finalising and implementing the strategy for the reclamation of mines dumps in the province, including acid mine drainage problems.
The department is in the process of centralising Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as alluded to by the Premier during the State of the Province address yesterday. The purpose is to assist in planning for the future and deliver adequate services to communities.
The department acknowledges that recent flooding has caused serious damage to the farms of Gauteng farmers. We have worked together with the Health and Social Development and Local Government departments and municipalities in providing necessary services during the floods. The department will continue giving assistance to those affected farmers and it has made a call to farmers to consider insuring their produce as a proactive measure against such disasters.
The department is also committed to addressing scarce skills within the sectors by providing bursaries in agricultural biotechnology, agricultural science, environmental science, animal health, veterinary science and conservation. We are finalising the short listing and interviews and we will make announcement on recipients soon.
Media Contact Person:
Tel: 011 355-1326
Cell: 072 274 3692
Source: Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Issued by: Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development
22 Feb 2011
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