Agriculture MEC to visit farming projects

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bushbuckridge - Mpumalanga's Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration MEC Candith Mashego-Dlamini will inspect farming projects in Bushbuckridge on Friday.

The visit is part of the Siyalima ('we are farming') campaign, which falls under the provincial government-sponsored Masibuyele Emasimini ('let's go back to the fields) farming programme.

"The MEC will visit the farms to check their development and promote the Siyalima campaign that the provincial department seeks to expand in order to get more households involved in producing their own food," said department spokesperson Janine Julies on Wednesday.

The Masibuyele Emasimini programme was introduced in 2005 to encourage communities to take advantage of government's agriculture-related projects.

Julies said the programme encouraged communities to form sustainable partnerships and initiatives that could help eradicate poverty and create sustainable jobs.

She said the initiative was first reviewed in the department's 2008/9 financial year and again in the 2010/11 financial year.

"The revised programme focused on two areas, which included the mobilisation of households to use their backyards and fields for household food production, and the provision of comprehensive support in the form of mechanisation, production input, technical and advisory services for poor and vulnerable communities," Julies said.

Mashego-Dlamini will visit the Mariti farming project in Mariti, the Hoxane irrigation project in Mkhuhlu, the Jugo and Citrus project in Saringwe village outside Mkhuhlu and the Lilydale dry land crop production communal farm in Lilydale village near Thulamahashe.

Last year, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson and President Jacob Zuma handed over more than 85 new tractors that cost R500 million to small-scale farmers in Mpumalanga.

The vehicles were distributed to the Ehlanzeni, Gert Sibande and Nkangala district municipalities. More than 10 500 farmers benefited.

Mashego-Dlamini said since the programme started, the provincial government had also donated a number of tractors and other farming equipment to various communities such as Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi.

"In most communities, government tractors are authorised for use by any resident who has made a request and officials in some instances also give seeds for a start-up," said Mashego-Dlamini.