North West should become food basket of South Africa-Premier Modise
26 Oct 2012The training centre has been renewed to serve as a world class, accredited centre that should provide training and capacity building for subsistence and smallholder farmers. This will include training on household food security, primary production and agro-processing/value adding, to reduce poverty, create decent employment and to improve rural livelihood.
The agriculture sector in the North West Province should work towards increasing its food productivity to ensure that the province becomes the food basket of South Africa that should also feed the African continent, Premier Thandi Modise challenged stakeholders on Thursday.
In her keynote speech delivered at the historic launch of Kgora Farmers Training Centre held at Ramatlabama outside Mahikeng, Premier Modise said that food security cannot be treated in isolation from other developmental questions such as social protection, sources of income, rural and urban development, changing household structures, health, and access to land, water and inputs, retail markets, or education and nutritional knowledge.
“The pendulum has to swing in favour of our people, we have to rise up to the occasion and be counted as a Province that is combating poverty ruthlessly. We have reached a point whereby agricultural skills transfer is a priority that must not be compromised. Work has been done in prior years, but this time the farmers’ training model is modified to suit the needs of a developmental state,” emphasised the Premier
Modise highlighted that the provincial growth and development strategy has identified amongst many other programmes, agriculture as one of the key pillars for economic growth that should provide opportunities for the total empowerment of the people of the province.
Within the pillars of agriculture, the strategy speaks to emerging and established farmers, women in agriculture and youth in agriculture.
“The priority to divert skills to our people is inevitable because the problem of access to food affects about 32, 9% of the population of the Province. This means we are among the worst in this regard. Only 23, 6% of the households in the province are involved in agricultural activities,” the Premier stressed.
MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Desbo Mohono said that her department as per the Premier’s pronouncement in the State of the Province in February spend R6 million to revamp the training centre situated on 802 hectares farm.
The centre has 74 bed dormitories, 100 seats capacity lecture halls, 100 seater hall as well as other training support facilities will serve as a world class, accredited, income-generating farmer training centre that emulates “learning by doing” adopted from Netherlands.
In her message of support, MEC for Social Development, Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Mosetsanagape Mokemele-Mothibi said that the centre will contribute towards intensifying War on Poverty programme and the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme for the benefit of vulnerable group in society.
Optimism and commitment to support the Provincial Food Security Project was also expressed by various stakeholders including the representatives of South African National Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme Team, The National Emergent Red Meat Producers' Organisation (NERPO), Agri SETA, Agri North West, African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA), North West African Farmers Union ,SA Essential Oil Business Incubator (SEOBI),Milk South Africa, and International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
Project Management Coordinator at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Elder Mtshiza said that the province is ahead of the pool and provides comfort in terms of the direction it is taking to meet the country’s needs.
The province’s huge potential for agriculture given the fishery in its dams was highlighted by Director for Rural Fisheries Programme at Rhodes University, Qurban Rouhani who committed the university’s support for the centre.
Mma-Kgosi Ramokone Gopane representing Bahumagadi Forum, an organisation constituted by wives and mothers of traditional leaders said that the province’s vision of training of emerging farmers to acquire knowledge about the theory of farming and skills in subsistence food production practices, poverty reduction through enough food production, and creation of employment is shared by rural women, women organisations and supported by traditional leaders in the province.
Representative of Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Wilson Mngwambe commented the relevance of the project. Mngwambe said that land reform is as reality therefore new landowners need training to prepare them for productive farming.
Thabo Maseka from the Black African Young Farmers (BAYOFA) expressed appreciation for the initiative and pledged the support of the youth for the Premier’s visionary leadership.
Training and capacity building programmes to be offered at the centre include household food security, primary production and agro-processing/value adding. As part of the broad government agenda the programme will be aimed at reducing poverty, creating decent employment and improve rural livelihood.
Lesiba Moses Kgwele
Tel:018 388 3705
Cell: 083 629 1987
Fax: 018 388 3157
Issued by: North West Provincial Government
26 Oct 2012
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