Farming the way forward, youths told

2010-06-23 00:00

THE MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development, Lydia Johnson, yesterday urged young people to play a more meaningful role in the development and the prosperity of the agriculture industry in KwaZulu-Natal.

Johnson was speaking during a summit for established young farmers, hosted at the department’s head offices in Cedara.

The summit was seen as an opportunity for many of the young developing and established farmers to interact with each other and with the department and to highlight some of the challenges that they are facing in the farming industry.

It attracted many young people, mostly belonging to farming co-operatives, who had travelled from areas in the midlands, Ixopo and Kokstad.

The farmers outlined the challenges they face, including a shortage of resources and poor development support, which had left them languishing for years as sustenance farmers rather than commercial farmers.

Johnson urged them to remember the spirit of the 1976 generation who had fought for the liberation of this country.

“They fought for this country to be free, while we now enjoy freedom.

“Do not forget that the struggle is not over. We are now facing the economic liberation struggle,” she said.

“You should remember that agriculture is the way of the future and the youth is the future,” continued Johnson.

She said she was very pleased to see many of the young people taking on the struggle for economic prosperity.

“I see many young activists who are taking today’s struggle against unemployment and poverty forward, who are not just complaining about the problems they encounter, but instead are doing something to solve them, and making a meaningful contribution to the country’s economy.”

The young farmers hailed the department for its contribution in promoting farmers from the rural areas.

One of the young established farmers, Sthembiso Khumalo of the M&K Co-operative in Ixopo, said his co-operative is able to supply a major retail store in Pietermaritzburg and in Ixopo with vegetables as a result of help from the department.

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