Government has forgotten us, say female farmers

2016-08-31 08:52
Bheki Cele. (City Press)

Bheki Cele. (City Press)

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Komatipoort - Young female farmers this week poured out their frustrations to Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele during his visit to Nkomazi near Komatipoort.

The women didn't waste time engaging with the deputy minister, saying that the government had forgotten about them. They were accompanied by unemployed youth and learners interested in the sector.

"We as your people have voted for the African National Congress but we have been forgotten by our own government. We are a group of people who grow vegetables and try to sell around the village. Our challenge is that sometimes the business doesn't go well.

"We need the department to assist us in finding a market where we can sell our product," said farmer Nokuthula Themba.

The event was a platform for mostly young female farmers, unemployed graduates, learners and industry role players to share ideas on how to unlock opportunities for young farmers.

Drought

Cele visited local farmers, including Gilmo Mubi, 69, in Nkomazi to monitor their progress.

Explaining his operation, Mubi said: "We currently have 35 youth employed and most of them are females. The majority of them have matriculated but they can't find work so I gave them work on the farm.

"The challenge is drought at the moment and even our borehole has gone dry. We pray that it rains before we lose everything," said Mubi.

South Africa is in the grip of its worst drought in over a century, and the South African Weather Service this week announced renewed doubt about a foreseen recovery, citing Indian Ocean weather patterns.

Cele told the farmers that he could not make promises but said that issues raised would be discussed with provincial government. He also urged villagers to use the provincial office when they needed assistance, and not just wait for the government to come to them.

"I cannot promise anything now, but I can tell you that we will discuss the matter with the provincial office and find a possible solution. The provincial office is for the people, I urge each of you to utilise this office when you are facing challenges," he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  bheki cele  |  mbombela  |  agriculture  |  drought

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