Kwazulu-Natal MEC for DARD, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi says the launch of the Farmer Support Package (FSP), which offers tractors, implements, fertilizer, seeds and seedlings, explores the letter and spirit of a province that is going back to the basics of producing its own food by providing dedicated and efficient support to potential commercial farmers.
Sithole-Moloi said the FSP is the engine that powers the Multi-Planting Season campaigns and gives local small-scale farmers the capacity to ensure increased food production and enhanced access to food at a household level by cultivating the land available in their villages and backyards.
The Farmer Support Package worth R57, 2 million for this year was unveiled during the King Cetshwayo District Multi-Planting Season roll out event held at Dondotha, in uMfolozi.
Sithole-Moloi said food insecurity remained a critical challenge affecting people’s social conditions due to rising unemployment, poverty and inequality, and therefore mechanisms for a support package to promote the commercialization of strategic agricultural enterprises was urgently needed.
“The introduction of the FSP today, is a clear statement that we are determined and stand ready to provide a dedicated and efficient support package to all the agricultural value chains that are key drivers to the province’s sustainable economic growth and transformation
“This package is what drives the intensified Multi-Planting Season campaigns. We are augmenting the call to go back to basics of mass-producing our own food, today. This package pays attention in growing small-scale farmers in terms of material support across various commodities,” she said.
Sithole-Moloi said the package is also a clear signal to our people indicating that the entry to the agricultural economy does not only lie on the acquisition of already existing commercial farms, but the very land available in our villages and our backyards.
She added that the FSP would bring balance between the usage of available land in tribal lands maximally for household consumption and the re-engineering of mindsets for producing for markets.