Use land effectively to fight hunger, poverty- Zuma

Monday, April 30, 2012

Butterworth - President Jacob Zuma has encouraged communities to use land more effectively to fight hunger and poverty.

He was speaking in Butterworth, in the Eastern Cape, where he handed over tractors and cattle to local community projects on Sunday.

Zuma is in the province to roll out projects which are part of the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative (MRDI). It aims to equip communities in the rural areas to develop themselves, especially in the area of agriculture.

Having started in Nkandla and Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal, the MRDI is chaired by Zuma in his capacity as a community member and was successfully launched in the Eastern Cape in Qumbu in November last year.

Government has since become a partner of the initiative with ministers pledging their support to the programme.

"It is very important because it is when we work the land that we can quickly change the quality of life for our people.

"If we are sitting doing nothing, the change will take longer and one of the important things we have to do is to work on the land. It's one of the fundamental things we have to achieve," he said.

He said through various initiatives, government has been assisting communities with agricultural implements to grow food for local markets.

Zuma also visited Peddie earlier in the day where tractors were also donated to local agricultural projects.

In Butterworth, Zuma handed over 10 tractors to the Mtshanyaneni Agricultural and Farming Cooperative. More than 100 locals are involved with the project which focuses on crop and cattle farming.

One of the members and beneficiary's, Phila Gcasamba, said land was still a crucial tool to address poverty in rural areas.

"For us it's not about waiting for handouts but we do appreciate when we get assistance here and there because through these projects people are able to sell what they yield which in turn ensures some form of income," said Gcasamba.

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