Minister: Green farming the way to go

2011-12-03 22:41

Johannesburg - Environmentally aware farming practices could have the dual advantages of limiting climate change and feeding the world's poor, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Saturday.

"Being able to transform agriculture to feed a growing population in the face of a changing climate without hindering the natural resource base, will not only achieve food security goals, but also help mitigate the negative effects of climate change," she said in a speech planned for delivery in Durban.

The speech marks the opening of the Agriculture and Rural Development Day conference which was attended by Cop 17 delegates.

Joemat-Pettersson said the decisions made at the conference had the potential to improve the prospects of feeding earth's growing population.

By the year 2050 food production needs to increase by 70%, while scientists predicted climate change to reduce yields by between 10 and 20%, she said. "Today, already, one in seven people will go to bed hungry, that's nearly one billion people."

Joemat-Pettersson said greater planning for development of rural areas was needed, as these were the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of the population.

  • africanwolf - 2011-12-03 23:11

    Inland fish farming is the answer fish breed and grow fast, and feed is relatively cheap

      Brian - 2011-12-04 06:39

      Absolutely right. Tilapia, for one, are easy to farm with little in he way of expensive infrastructure and produce good yield and reasonable profits. The problem, though, is that like any farming endeavour, WORK is required and few of our citizens are prepared to do that. They want it all for nothing. Remember the old saying? "Give man a fish and feed him for a day. Give a man a fishing rod and feed him for a lifetime" If the ANCYL are guilty of only one thing, it is the perception that government will GIVE the country to the youth. What they then do with it is too dreadful to contemplate. Our youth feel that it is their right to take, not work for a decent living. Our beautiful country has the potential to feed not only its own people but most of Africa as well. Are the people interested? No they are not. Why not? It requires work, that's why not.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-04 08:26

      Problem with fresh water fish farming is growing a market. People are reluctant to try new things, it'll have to be marketed initially as if it is sea fish. Farmers up the road from me went big into barbel (catfish), but the project failed due to lack of acceptance of the product. But I do agree, great potential - just come to terms with one thing, nothing is as easy as one thinks.

      Nico - 2011-12-04 09:49

      Actually not, to have a profitable fish farm project, whether it is salt or fresh fish, you have a high concentration of fish in a small area. That increases the amount of virusses and other diceases the fish incur, with the result that you can loose a whole "crop" within a day. Fishfarming in other countries have a heavy investment from government to make it profitable. Your setup fees and training is also very high, not to mention paying for the research that has been done to make a success of this type of farming.

      goyougoodthing - 2011-12-04 10:19

      This woman is one of the dimmest I have ever heard open her mouth. How the f did she get her job?

  • Roberto - 2011-12-04 00:35

    No mention of farms, actual production farms, being redistributed to upcoming farmers and a couple of years down the line, noting remains of a once productive farm that fed thousandths of mouths. Zimbabwe use to be the fruit basket of the world......

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-04 08:31

      Agreed, 1000's of hectares have already been given to rural communities but next to none of that land is now productive. The false ideology that merely owning land will enrich you is the most suitable one for politicians to sell. I'm surounded by failed land reform farms, its quite depressing that my farm is under claim given these circumstances. The ANC teaches this mindset to the people, that they don't need to work to earn anything.

      Johnny - 2011-12-04 09:41

      and now Zim is the fruitcase of the world...

      goyougoodthing - 2011-12-04 10:24

      I am involved with a group of people who are committed to help teach new farmers how to farm. After 3 years the only thing that has become clear is this: 99% of the people are lazy One old man, Mr Nkozi, has a farm which produces great product. His biggest threat comes from his young neighbours who get up late, drink beer and, at harvest time, take his produce and laugh at him, calling him an 'old man'. Stuff them.

      David - 2012-03-01 15:15

      Roberto, Zim used to be the breadbasket. That is, until the fruitbasket took over. :)

  • Brian - 2011-12-04 06:32

    I wonder how much she is spending in Durban for hotel bills! It's great to 'talk the talk', but how is she going to get this sort of thing off the ground? I am a farmer, using as much in the way of 'green' as possible in my farming systems. We have been written up in Farmers Weekly, have had other interested parties asking for more information and are working hard to make our farm work in the most efficient way possible. Is government interested? Not a damn. Have ANY of the KZN farmers had ANY contact from this minister? Not a peep. Have ANY agriculture ministry personnel shown any interest? Nope. Has government offered any form of assistance? Not a chance. One of the green machines we are currently working with is a gas generator, producing methane gas from waste. Free gas for heating, cooking and lighting! Any interest? No bloody way! They are all too busy living in fancy hotels to get down and dirty on a farm to see what we are all doing, what we need, and what assistance government could offer. Sad really. Enjoy you stay in Durban, Minister.

      Hunter - 2011-12-04 07:53

      @ Brian, they are busy with "greenwashing". First JZ says we will move to a green economy and now this one reckon "green farming" is our future. Only problem is that they only proclaim it now at this event (probably hoping that they could get some more donor funding)instead of having made it part of their policy since the previous ckimate talks. They really do not fool the educated citizens of SA and I doubt if they fool any of the green lobby or the international world with this hypocrasy.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-04 08:35

      Brian, they're only interested in things they can use as political tools. Seeing a white farmer with a positive contribution to the issues they need to deal with does not suit their political agendas. They'll focus rather on the odd farmer who abuses his labour, that sort of thing is what they like to see - as it suits their political ambitions. Sick.

  • Francois - 2011-12-04 06:44

    Dear Minister, your humanitarian view on this is admired, but how about reducing the number of people that will have to be fed in 2050? Good education, that includes family planning, title deeds in the tribal trust lands so that those who want to work can do it for their own good, Oops then you will not have such a large number of uneducated hungry people whose vote you can buy with a food hamper! You are tending to lean to the hypocrites in government. You don't care about the people, if you did you would have criticized the green paper of rural development in its harshest terms.

  • Hermann - 2011-12-04 07:04

    The Minister can relax because by 2050 we will be importing 95% of our food requirements due to the landgrab policies.

  • Deeteem - 2011-12-04 07:19

    Suddenly Miss 5 Star Hotel has something to say !! Is it because you and your family are staying in Durban for the "conference" ??

      Hunter - 2011-12-04 07:57

      I wonder if she has looked at her own carbon footprint. Five star hotels tend to contribute quite a bit to greenhouse emissions.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-04 08:39

      I must admit when this lady took over from the racist lunatic Lulu, most of us were impressed by her. Pity, she's turned out to be just another ANC politician with one purpose, sell false ANC ideologies about farming - using agriculture as political fodder instead of trying to help black people who actually want to farm.

  • Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-04 08:45

    We're actually forced to go greener largely due to costs. Eskom is a major factor helping the green cause. I've already replaced all incandescent light bulbs with CF bulbs. Next is LED bulbs, just waiting for the price to come down. Geysers have geyser blankets, staff have a solar geyser, etc etc. In some circumstances it backfires - to curb drying costs farmers are burning wood instead of using electrical elements, the wood is free from prunings. Surely this is less efficient and adds to the carbon footprint. Win some, lose some, but at the end of the day costs will have a huge influence. I also only irrigate blocks where I don't have to pump up, I have let one block return to indigenous bush as it was too expensive to irrigate.

  • Enlightened - 2011-12-04 11:36

    What is the point of going "green farming" when our farms are closing down one after the other. I recently read that something to the tune of 80 % (Ispeak under correction) of BEE farms are going bankrupt due to lacking farming skills. These are all previously productive farms. Should we not rather focus on optimizing output with the existing technology and THEN go green rather than go green with something that is essentially not working (with exceptions of course) Once again I could be wrong, I saw last night that there is famine sneaking it's way into the North West. Is this not a first in SA History?

  • Zebelon - 2011-12-04 15:13

    The minister's ANC government has neglected all rural development in SA. Development is biased towards urban areas where politicians live and do any sort of duty. There is no plan in place for rural areas even at this advanced stage in democracy. In fact the current government shows ignorance of these peripheral places are meaningfully uplifted. Whoever hve any knowledge on such development are in the periphery; they are never sought - no need!

  • arthurbrigg - 2012-03-01 15:16

    Teach them Permaculture and Hydropnics. Please, minister - do NOT fall for Monsanto's dirty tricks, GMO seeds will destroy SA's natural food sources.

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