MEC for Agriculture consults farmers on improving the sector
9 Feb 2010
Limpopo MEC for Agriculture, Mme Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba is of the view that stakeholders in the agricultural sector, farmers in particular are important role players in feeding the nation. On this basis, she said the Limpopo Department of Agriculture (LDA) under her leadership could take a right direction if it took inputs from farmers very seriously, hence the Agricultural Indaba held on 9 February 2010 at Bolivia Lodge in Polokwane.
Addressing farmers, financial institutions, commodity groups, representatives from farmer organisations and government officials at the Agricultural Indaba, MEC Letsatsi-Duba said the indaba meant business, thus it should not be taken as a talk show. She said stakeholders’ views would help the LDA review policies in order to create an enabling environment for farmers to grow the economy. She emphasised that government and farmers needed each other in ensuring food security, hence regular consultations between the two were necessary.
“As a department, we are seeking ways in which food security and job creation could be achieved to improve the lives of our people. Here today, we have invited the backbone of the nation, you the farmers, who should feed the nation. We do know that you have the ability and we have the capacity, only if, together we can pull to the same direction” she indicated. “By the time we get out of here, I believe we will have thrashed out issues that make it impossible for projects like Tshiombo or Makgobaskloof not to function. We will have discovered that which brings us more closely, than that which sets us apart,” she continued.
Chairperson of Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) South Africa North, Mr Jan Viljoen appreciated government’s assistance to farmers like disaster relief, but suggested quick response than farmers waiting for long before getting help. He asked the MEC to help in the protection of farmers. Meanwhile, the chairperson of Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development (YARD) in Limpopo, Mr Thomas Kgapane applauded the LDA for advocating succession plan wherein the youths are encouraged to join the agricultural sector.
He suggested a national competition for young farmers and decried lack of interaction between young black and white farmers. He said linkages between the two groups could strengthen the agricultural industry through sharing of ideas and mentoring. In general, farmers asked government to assist with infrastructural development and also pointed a finger at the outstanding land claims which they alleged caused uncertainty and hampered expected production.
At the end of the indaba, MEC Letsatsi-Duba acknowledged critical areas that were raised that required platform for the “department together with all the sector leadership” to seek solutions to the challenges facing the sector. “Having listened to you as stakeholders today and especially the agricultural unions, TAU, National African Farmers' Union (NAFU), Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development (YARD), Progress Milling and individuals inputs, we have realised there is a need for a high level participation by yourselves as organised agriculture in a sustainable platform chaired from my office. That way communication, within the agricultural sector in dealing with disaster, farm safety and land related matters can be addressed formally,” she remarked
Issued by: Department of Agriculture, Limpopo Provincial Government
9 February 2010
Source: Department of Agriculture, Limpopo Provincial Government (http://www.lda.gov.za/)
Issued by: Limpopo Agriculture
9 Feb 2010
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