Agricultural infrastructure support programmes proficiently implemented, says MEC Tshwene
18 May 2010
The MEC for North West Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Rural Development, Mr Boitumelo Tshwene says his department has shown determination to provide infrastructural support to agricultural farmers, in order to address the goals of the provincial growth and development strategy.
Tshwene said this when presenting the departmental budget vote speech at the North West provincial legislature.
"We have over the past years implemented this mandate through our flagship projects initiative, which ensures the purchasing of agricultural equipment and infrastructure for deserving agricultural cooperatives and projects," explained MEC Tshwene.
Tshwene further told the house that through the Mechanisation programme, the department has purchased and handed over tractors and implements to the value of R7,2 million to five cooperatives throughout the province.
"The department has also constructed a total of 273 kilometres of fencing amounting to R7,6 million in various agricultural projects in the province. This project involves the construction of fence in the livestock and crop areas at the identified project mainly for the land reform beneficiaries."
To mitigate risks associated with rampant veld fires which happen during the dry winter season, the MEC said the department has over the past financial year through the department's Firebreaks programme, constructed a total of 1 329km of firebreaks in various farms in all the four districts of the province.
"In our endeavour to bring markets closer to the farmers and ensure proper management and control of stray animals, we have during the 2009/10 financial year, constructed a multi-purpose livestock handling facility in the Greater Taung local municipality in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district," continued MEC Tshwene.
"We are also proud to announce that our tireless efforts to bring female farmers closer to commercial agricultural activities are also becoming a dream come true. A total number of 100 black subsistence farmers have so far benefitted from the North West / Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Nguni Cattle Development project. And amongst these is a group of ten women called Semellang Bomme in the Ramotshere Moiloa local municipality."
The department has during the past financial year completed the development and registration of 28 livestock cooperatives with the total membership of 294 as part of the Western Frontier Beef Beneficiation programme. It is through this initiative that emerging beef farmers are developed to become part of the value chain of the red meat industry and that they profit profoundly throughout the entire production chain.
"Amongst the list of our successes, is the replacement of centre pivots for the Taung irrigation scheme. We will prioritise the repairing of the existing canal to address the problem of water loss, drainage system, roads infrastructure and maintenance thereof," said the MEC.
"Our biggest enemy though is the unending group dynamics within certain cooperatives, which lead to the misuse of machinery provided by the department. But however, remain optimistic that with the awareness we have created around the benefits of the constructed infrastructure, beneficiaries will begin to collectively guard against the misuse and vandalism of these equipment."
"The same challenge goes for agriculture starter packs that are distributed through our Letsema la Mantshatlala programme where we give our communities seedlings to start backyard gardens for household food security. A total of 907 households benefited from this programme during the previous year."
Issued by: North West Agriculture, Conservation,Environment and Rural Development
18 May 2010
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