Farming union is optimistic

2013-09-13 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) is optimistic about the future of the farming industry in this country, the organisation said yesterday.

The organisation, holding its annual congress at the Royal Showgrounds, said there was hope for the agricultural community going forward for the country’s economy.

It called on government to create an environment conducive to the creation of employment opportunities, growth, development and the improvement of confidence in and within the agricultural sector.

Kwanalu CEO Sandy la Marque appealed to government to recognize the agricultural sector as one of KwaZulu-Natal’s greatest assets.

She said, however, they still faced mammoth challenges. They include “the ongoing challenges of, amongst others, land”.

“Land reform, unemployment, lawlessness, a perceived lack of respect for property, rising input costs, including administered prices such as those associated with water and electricity, are all still major challenges that we face,” she said.

But La Marque had praise for police and other law enforcement officials.

“Because they acted swiftly whenever farmers were attacked, we have a high rate of arrests and convictions.

“We are grateful for the hard work, but a lot more needs to be done to ensure our farmers are protected as farms and land are still burning issues,” she said.

The organisation also honoured its long-serving members. Lynnete Estelle Vincent was honoured for her valuable service over 30 years.

Former president Robin Barnsley was made honorary life president in acknowledgement and recognition of his meritorious, dedicated, committed and faithful service to organised agriculture.

Barnsley, who served the union from 2006 to 2011, expressed surprise and gratitude.

“This comes as a surprise to me. I was not expecting it but it’s the way they are saying thank you,” he said.

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