The MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform, Mase Manopole, launched the R3.2m Provincial lucern planting project in Warmsand near Upington on Thursday, 21 April 2022.
This project which is expected to create more than 200 jobs, is a partnership between the Department and farmers’ organization, National African Farmers Union (NAFU).
The MEC was accompanied by the NAFU national President, Mr. Motsepe Matlala and RaisinSA CEO, Mr Ferdie Botha, who committed to support farmers endeavours.
MEC Manopole said the aim of the lucern project, which will be expanded to other districts, is to assist farmers to feed their livestock during a natural disaster.
Several parts of the Northern Cape have constantly been hit by immense drought, brown locust infestation and devastating veldfires.
“The planting of lucern and maize, will assist us in alleviating the effects brought by drought, brown locusts plaque and veldfires among other overwhelming disasters which are confronting our sector in the Province. We will be able to store more fodder in our fodder banks for our farmers’ livestock, so that when disaster struck, we are able to assist,” said MEC Manopole during the launch.
“Today’s launch, comes as the ever growing partnership between the Department and farmers’ union, NAFU leaps forward in a significant way. In 2019, when the Deputy President, Honourable David Mabuza, visited the Province, to assess the nature effect of drought on our farmers, it was agreed that as the Provincial Government we should partner with our stakeholders, to see how best we can alleviate the effect of drought.
“Key to this intervention, is to plant more lucern and maize and store in our fodder banks for times of great need,” she said.
The Provincial Government has put aside about R3.2m towards these initiative, which will see NAFU planting lucern and maize in various districts such as ZF Mgcawu, Pixley ka Seme and Frances Baard.
“We are grateful of the partnership because it will see more than 200 job opportunities created. We call on NAFU to take this partnership serious, so that it can sustainable and spread to more districts,” said MEC Manopole.
Meanwhile, MEC Manopole mentioned that the Department is working hard to make sure that the Fetsa Tlala program increase production levels of subsistence and smallholder producers, subsequently allowing them opportunities into the value chain through planting of grains mainly maize and wheat.
“The intervention further intends to increase prospects of job creation and contribute to the creation of SMME development at a local level. We have put money aside to be used into the production of food on Communal, Private and Land Reform Farms, to address food security challenges in the Province.”
Districts such as the ZF Mgcawu and Frances Baard have contributed close to 600 hectares with a total of 14 irrigation farms participating in winter and summer cropping, mainly maize and wheat production which is staple food in the Province.
MEC Manopole said the One Household, One Food Garden program, will continue encouraging our communities to produce their own food through establishment of vegetable gardens.