The KwaZulu-Natal department of agriculture and rural development has, this year alone, placed more than 400 jobless graduates on 109 farmers across the province. This is part of its newly-launched unemployed agricultural graduates programme.
Speaking at the launch function held in Dannhauser, near Newcastle, MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi said the programme was a crucial step towards the successful revival of more than 1 500 land reform farms that remain unprofitable in KwaZulu-Natal.
Also, it is a direct fulfilment of the Freedom Charter subsection that says “the land shall be shared among those who work it.”
“We have begun to respond directly, as a sector, to the subsection of the Freedom Charter despite not having the land that must be shared among the people for agricultural production. We must first buy it, so we can share it among us,” Sithole-Moloi said.
New life on fallow farms
Through the programme, Sithole-Moloi said the department was making vital strides in ensuring that all youth, especially unemployed agricultural graduates, populate the sector with young, fresh and innovative minds.
This would go a long way in ensuring the successful resuscitation of fallow farms.
Sithole-Moloi also said that the department was hoping to welcome at least 1 000 of the 10 000 agriculturalists that are to be deployed to all provinces by national government. This would beef up the number of placed graduates that will radically transform the sector in the province.
“The intention is to not only to increase the number of professional young agriculturalists that have diverse variety of skills servicing the communal areas in all its value-chains but to establish a database of all agricultural graduates exiting tertiary.”
She further stated that the department wanted to get a firm grip on the graduates’ different fields of specialisation.
“We want to establish if their skills are geared to drive agriculture in the fourth industrial revolution and what numbers we must place in commercial farms per year to make a real difference in all value-chains,” concluded Sithole-Moloi.