Farmers in Molweni in the Ethekweni municipality in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) appreciate the provincial government’s efforts to empower farmers amid difficult times of escalating operational costs. Community members and farmers spoke about their needs with the KZN’s government during an event held at Mageza sportsfield in Molweni.
The provincial government – through the department of agriculture and rural development in conjunction with the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs – embarked on a campaign to engage farmers with a key focus on fulfilling the needs of smallholder and livestock farmers, as well as conducting the summer season disaster awareness campaign.
During the event, food producers spoke about the challenges they face and possible solutions the government could render.
Resources and training needed
The MECs of agriculture and cooperative governance Super Zuma and Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi respectively led the campaign of engaging the farmers and the communities about food safety.
Problems that were impeding progress were brought to light, including the lack of gardening and farming equipment. The community asked Zuma to help with the fencing of various public and private gardens.
Additionally, they made a request for specialised training in drilling boreholes and irrigation pumps. A group of farmers asked for Upper Molweni, Umngeni, and Mahlabathini Diptank construction.
A fruitful visit
During the visit, Zuma unveiled a unique breed of bulls, as well as supplied a fence, irrigation pumps, and necessary farming equipment to farmers who were in dire need of farming operational inputs.
Zuma emphasised that the department’s primary goal of reducing poverty and creating jobs was key to the government’s objective, citing that their efforts will attain economic equality.
‘We are on the right track’
Zuma said, “We are resolute and unwavering in our cause; we will tirelessly work one garden at a time until our rural communities have established their own agricultural firms.
“We’ve launched our provincial multiplanting season and we will be planting 20 000 hectares throughout the province. Here in Molweni, over 250 households have committed and started farming. We want all our communities to partner with us because we have all the resources that will ensure development and guaranteed access to the market.”
eThekwini Metro Councillor Zamani Khuzwayo was appreciative of the department’s response to the needs of the community and urged other departments to follow suit.
“All that we have seen being done by the department today will surely change lives. We are still faced with the challenge of stock theft but we are dealing with it,” said Khuzwayo.
Getting hands dirty
Nkosikhona Bhengu from the Ngcolosi Traditional Authority encouraged the community to farm to fight poverty and create employment in their communities.
“No one is born to be poor but it all depends on us. We have to take the first step by wanting to get our hands dirty,” said Bhengu.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.