“WE WANT PEOPLE TO COME OUT OF POVERTY THROUGH AGRICULTURAL COORPERATIVES”
By: Samkele Maseko
The Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Department hosted a summit for Agricultural Co-operations across all Kwa-Zulu Natal Municipal districts at the Olive Convention Centre.
Agriculture and Environment MEC, Dr Meshack Radebe, stated that some media houses have reported that he is very hard on employees within his department.
“I feel sorry for those who feel that I am too hard on them but it’s only going to get worse because we are here to work not a vacation,” said Radebe. “I make decisive decisions and am not afraid of other people who differ with me.”
He further stated that the land made available for farming was not for individuals but rather for the community.
“If we find that people are holding onto land as if their own, we will take it back,” said Radebe.
The department, under the Masibambisane Rural Development project, has helped start 15 Co-operatives in Jozini under the Biva Tribal Authority, four in Mbonambi under the Enqalini Tribal Authority and one at Esikhawini in the uThungulu District Municipality.
“This summit is to make Kwa-Zulu Natal greener,” he said.
The MEC revealed that China would be making an investment of three billion dollars and this project would require 40 thousand hectors of land.
“This project could generate up to 15 000 jobs for our people in the rural communities,” continued Radebe.
This investment opportunity comes after South Africa hosted the BRICS Summit in Durban almost three months ago.
Radebe stated that the department has set aside 14 million rands to farm 20 000 hectors of land within this financial year.
“This means that there is no sleeping for those who are serious about running their Corps effectively and they will work closely with us so that they can be profitable,” he said.
The MEC also stated that his department has trained over 28 Co-operatives in different areas within the province.
“These Co-ops will also train other Co-ops under the programme called Farm Together Train the Trainer,” he said.
The MEC also stated that he was happy to see that there are many young people involved in the Agriculture sector in the province.
“There are over 400 young people who are involved in Co-ops which I meet with and they are the future of this province and country within the farming sector,” he said.