>>email@example.comEASTERN Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, was part of a maize harvesting programme in the Ongeluksnek farming area in Matatiele last Friday. Matatiele is a farming area that has a good record of maize production.According to the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, 15 local farmers secured R38 million in loans from the Masisizane Fund to buy ploughing equipment. In the area of Matatiele, 11 women and 19 young people received farming assistance from the government. Qoboshiyane said maize production is one of the department’s major programmes and as a result millions has been invested in more than 42 000 hectares of land in the province. He thanked the private sector for supporting the farmers and asked young people to study agriculture so they can find employment in that sector once they finish school. “The country has old people in farming so young people must look at agriculture as a career. Pupils must take agriculture as a subject,” said Qoboshiyane.In Matatiele, 47% of young people are unemployed and 26 641 households depend directly on agriculture to survive. Chief Moshoeshoe said Matatiele and its rural areas have fertile land where people can harvest maize. He asked government to help farmers with irrigation schemes. “The maize we are producing is sold to other areas. We need government to help us produce more maize.” He thanked the government for fencing their farms. The Department of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform planted 42 879 hectares of maize last season and is expecting a yield of 171 516 tons of grain valued at R377 million.