The Guard

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Agriculture key to food security: Dukwana

By Libuseng Nyaka

QWAQWA – Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana has emphasized the need to strengthen agriculture as it is a key sector for food security, job creation, poverty alleviation and rural development.

Dukwana said this during the opening of the Free State legislature in his State of Province Address (Sopa) on February 29 at Phuthaditjhaba multipurpose hall.

“Work is underway to position the Free State as the champion of the agricultural green revolution in the country. Figures are telling in this regard. From 2019, the agriculture sector steadily grew from 4.7 percent in the third quarter to 5.1 percent in the third quarter of 2023.
“This is to be expected considering our support to 227 red meat producers, 309 agro-processing initiatives and the creation of 152 green jobs.”

Highlighting work done to improve agriculture, Dukwana said a total of 4 543 producers were trained, and 249 students graduated from the Glen Agricultural College.

“We have employed 120 graduates for a two-year period in the agricultural sector under the Entrepreneurial Development Programme. We facilitated 19 023 export certificates, 29 419ha of land was rehabilitated and 987ha was cultivated using conservation practices. This will preserve the environment and increase production of organic products. We are on course to revitalize the deciduous fruit industry.”

He also disclosed that recently, R10 million was disbursed to the Remmoho Agri-Investment Project.
“This investment will create 400 jobs over a three-year period resulting in the construction of a juice manufacturing plant targeting the export market. Work is underway to avail provincial and municipal land for youth, women, people with disabilities and military veterans for farming purposes.

“We will increase investment to support the commercialisation of Black farmers, investment in agro-logistics infrastructure and open new markets. Honourable Speaker ,there is no doubt that the much-desired economic growth and development will be achieved if we harness our infinite energy potential. We are hard at work to position the Free State as the country’s central energy logistics, distribution, and beneficiation hub.”

He also added that the province has immense opportunities in natural gas, solar, coal, ethanol, wind, uranium, hydropower, and hydrogen to power the future of our country.

FS premier Mxolisi Dukwana during Sopa at Phuthaditjhaba multi-purpose hall.

“To enhance and benefit from these investment prospects, we held the Free State Energy Security Indaba during November last year.

“Apart from serving as a platform for discussions, the Indaba was about investment attraction, exploration, and collaboration on energy matters. Work is underway to implement commitments made during the Indaba. We are now unlocking over R100 billions of energy investment pipeline.”