E Cape goes back to basics to fight poverty

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pretoria - The Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform will on Monday launch the Ilima/Letsema campaign in Ngcobo, Zadungeni, in a bid to fight poverty through agricultural programmes.

The aim of the Ilima/Letsema campaign is to mobilise communities to utilise the ploughing fields in order to ensure that no land lies fallow and that all land available is used productively to ensure food security. 

Provincial department MEC Zoleka Capa will launch the programme in Ngcobo, which is part of the roll-out of rural development pilot sites.

Started in the 2009/10 financial year with only 200 one-hector gardens, the programme has grown by a whopping 257 gardens. 

According to the department, the programme targets one-hector gardens, which meant that some households had to combine their gardens to meet the requirement in a development that saw more than 1 000 households benefiting from the 457 one-hector gardens planted by the department.

"At least six villages in the Zadungeni A/A are benefiting from this programme, in which the department has provided fertilizers, maize seeds as well as spinach, potatoes, beans and pumpkin seedlings," the department said.

In line with Capa's intentions of spreading Letsema to new areas, the department intends to expand the programme to Ntibaneni A/A, where seven villages will benefit from the 635 hectors identified to be ploughed.

During the department's budget vote, Capa allocated R47.6 million towards food security, and highlighted that Letsema programme will target new communities or participants in this financial year, including communities who never benefited from the department's programmes.

"It is the aim of the government to ensure that people are producing food in a bid to fight poverty and under-development, as well as stirring up rural economic development through agricultural programmes like Letsema," Capa said. - BuaNews