Rural development key to fight against poverty
Pretoria - Rural development is the central pillar of the struggle against unemployment, poverty and inequality in the Gauteng provincial government.
The Gauteng MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, told the provincial legislature during her 2013/14 Budget Vote Speech, that her department’s work to improve rural services to support livelihoods has been allocated R19 680 000.
“We consider rural development as a central pillar of our struggle against unemployment, poverty and inequality.
“People living in rural areas face the harshest conditions of poverty, food insecurity and lack of access to services on an almost daily basis.
“This underlines the necessity of effective rural development programmes; ensuring that investment in infrastructure, services and training reach those areas of the country that have been most adversely affected,” she said.
As such, the MEC said they have organised career expos in the four rural nodes of Hekpoort, Bantu Bonke, Sokhulumi and Devon to encourage learners to pursue agriculture and environment as their careers.
Mayathula-Khoza said the pursuit of household and national food security was the provincial government’s constitutional mandate, adding that work to improve access to affordable and diverse food was allocated R26 538 000.
We have to create an environment which ensures that there is adequate food available to all, now and in the future, and that hunger is eradicated.
“In our quest to ensure that households are producing their own food and have access to nutritious food, we continued to focus on the three intervention strategies of food security initiatives that will make food security realisable,” she said.
Since 2009, a total of 39 102 food gardens have been established and a total of 38 372 household, 490 school and 240 community food gardens have been set up.
The department installed two additional hydroponics structures, and the planting of vegetables commenced at the Masimanyane project Germiston following sponsorship from Ekurhuleni Peermont Fund.
The project members were trained in hydroponics vegetable production through a collaborative agreement with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).
A total of 1 928 young people have been trained on various skills under the National Rural Youth Service Corps, commonly known as the Narysec programme.
According to the MEC, most of these youths have now been placed in various projects and are earning stipends and have greater opportunities to improve their livelihoods.
The National Rural Youth Corps was launched in 2011, with an initial 7 900 participants, of which 4 500 have either received or are in the process of completing training in various disciplines, mainly in the construction sector.
Narysec is a two-year programme aimed at empowering rural youth from each of the 3 300 rural wards across the country. - SAnews.gov.za