Many students are uninterested in agriculture and do not consider it a viable career option. However, the minister of agriculture, land reform, and rural development, Thoko Didiza, is trying to change the way people think about farming and encouraging students to pursue agriculture and food gardening.
The minister recently visited Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal, where she donated gardening tools to schools as part of her campaign to resuscitate school gardens. She was accompanied by senior managers from the department of education, the provincial department of agriculture and Illovo Sugar.
Okhozini Combined School, iNtando Junior Primary School and iNgede Senior Primary School were the three schools identified to benefit from the donation. The Minister also handed over gardening tools, seedlings and school shoes in each of the schools to learners from a disadvantage background.
According to Reggie Ngcobo, spokesperson for the department, the minister commenced with the school gardens programme in the Eastern Cape last year.
“This programme is aimed at [ a number of] focus areas. It teaches children about the importance of nutrition and food security. It raises the level of awareness about agricultural careers [and] It assist young people to understand the agricultural value chain – from farm to fork,” Ngcobo explained.
Minister Didiza’s visit also draws attention to the department’s back-to-school campaign. Earlier this year, Didiza along with the Limpopo MEC for education, Polly Boshielo, visited high schools in that province to review how the schools are integrating learning and farming as the key for future sustainable land management.
During her visit, Didiza reminded learners that agriculture had a wide range of careers to choose from including soil science, animal husbandry, agricultural economy and becoming a farmer.
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