Millions for Youth and Agriculture
Nomakhosazana Meth, MEC for Agriculture announced that 30% of all conditional grants from 2020 will be dedicated to youth agricultural entrepreneurship projects.
She is also in the process of convincing her national department to allocate land reform farms to youth for agricultural production purposes. “Land is rightfully called the original source of all material wealth; therefore, we need to ensure that every household has access to adequate food. We have approached traditional leadership in the province to make land that is lying fallow available for youth to farm commercially,” said Meth.
R20 million has been set aside to increase the number of households supported by the University of Fort Hare household food security program. The department has a partnership with UFH, for a second year, supporting 60 agriculture students that produce food for 300 households around the province.
In addition, R17 million has been availed for the training of 2 350 farmers, 200 farm workers, mentoring of 20 farmers as well as the participation of 170 out of school youths on an eight-month Long Crop and Animal Production Learnerships.
The Tsolo Agriculture and Rural Development Institute (TARDI) saw the first group of 37 students qualify in Animal Health in 2018. The Fort Cox Agricultural College had 89 graduates to further enhance the much-needed farming skills.
A further R19 million will go to infrastructural upgrading, renovation and revitalisation of Agricultural Training Institutions, with specific focus on kick starting a massive Sewage and Sanitation Upgrade project at Fort Cox while completing a similar project at TARDI. “In total, R92 million is being invested in the training and development of 2 705 youth in the province. Agriculture is positively transforming to be fashionable to our young people, as government we need to do more to bring them closer,”
A partnership with Premier Oscar Mabuyane will ensure that government farmland is given to emerging black farmers for production purposes. Government will support the capacitation of the land claims commission to expedite the settlement of land restitution.
“We will establish a provincial body to screen and advise on land allocations. Agriculture is substantially under-performing relative to its potential. This requires a long-term investment in land, access to finance, skills, business networks, infrastructure, technology and packaging,” said Meth.
There is also a planned cannabis stakeholder engagement where traditional leadership, farmers, institutions of higher learning, researchers, alternative medical practitioners, prospective investors, interest groups will contribute to a policy on the development of cannabis in the Province.