Gone are the days when government hands over infrastructure and new facilities to farmers without monitoring how these resources are used. North West agriculture and rural development MEC Desbo Mohono gave this stern warning to the beneficiaries of livestock handling sites worth R5.9 million, recently donated by government.
Mohono attended the handover of 11 communal facilities to livestock farmers in the Bojanala region, and cautioned, “Our officials will be on the ground and making sure that the facilities we are handing over are kept in good condition and, most importantly, used correctly.”
The sites were all designed and constructed to include holding pens and a crush pen each, and can be used for animal conditioning and animal production demonstrations. Farmers were grouped according to their municipalities and will be expected to assist each other in sharing the facilities.
Mohono said that animal healthcare was the backbone of livestock production. She hoped that farmers would master it in order to be sustainable.
“This gesture by the department is to give dignity and to return pride; for our farmers to be able to put bread on the table.
“Often, when [farmers] go to auctions, their livestock are at a very low grade. So, we are giving them these facilities to ensure that, when they go for auctions, their livestock are able to [get] better pricing.
“Creating an enabling environment for farming will not only contribute to improved health of the animals but also to improved food security and creating jobs.”
Mohono said the department had signed contracts with the beneficiary farmers to ensure that the tools of trade given to them did not get lost or damaged.
Farmers appreciate the leg up
One of the beneficiaries, George Brenden from Rietspruit outside Rustenburg, applauded the department for its gesture.
“We are happy to be amongst the first farmers to receive this most important infrastructure from the department,” Brenden told Food For Mzansi.
Another livestock beneficiary, Elizabeth Modise, said they were grateful for the work the department had done.
Modise called on government to continue looking out for farmers as the sector was a critical contributor to food security and job creation, especially among women and young people in rural areas like Rietspruit and its surrounding villages.
In the meantime, Mohono said that this handover will not be a once-off initiative. Similar facilities will be rolled out in three more districts in the province.
The MEC urged farmers to work together and to avoid infightings which could lead to them losing the use of the facilities and the ability to grow the livestock industry in the province.
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