North West prioritises agricultural sector

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

North West Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development MEC Desbo Mohono has assured farmers that her department will prioritise programmes aimed at supporting the agricultural sector.

“Let’s use agriculture to grow our economy and create jobs for our people,” Mohono said a recent meeting with farmers in the province.

The MEC said she has taken a decision to channel more resources towards assisting farmers to produce more food and grow the economy.

She reiterated that farmers must not be too comfortable and remain at smallholder level forever.

“Currently, there is a much greater focus on the smallholder farmer, but I often wonder which projects have been delivered. I want to see these projects growing. I want to see farmers growing from being smallholder farmers to commercials farmers,” Mohono said.

The National Development Plan (NDP) reports that agriculture has the potential to create close to 1 000 000 new jobs by 2030.

During a series of meetings with farmers, a list of concerns and challenges were raised. Among the issues raised include a lack of technical and infrastructural support, stock theft and access to land and market.

Addressing the tabled issues by farmers, Mohono acknowledged that farmers could have experienced a lot of challenges in the past but assured everyone that on top of her list was to make sure that farmers are supported adequately.

"We have serious wealth in the North West in terms of agriculture. We therefore need to protect and promote it to ensure that the industry does good things for our own economy and our own people.

“We have therefore resolved that every cent in the department meant for farmer support programmes will be spent on such programmes before the end of the current financial year,” said the MEC.

The MEC stressed that agricultural infrastructure and equipment for production activities and production inputs will be strengthened.

“The department will do things differently to make sure that support is improved and in turn, farmers and communities are able to produce food, “she said.

The province will also increase the number veterinarians to meet the demands of farmers.

The meeting also highlighted the importance of rooting out stock theft in the province.