By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA- Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipality has been identified as the third biggest income-generating district in the country, generating R17-billion agriculture alone.
The district’s agriculture sector is the biggest employer in the province, with the municipality working in partnership with Glen College of Agriculture to train farmers.
So far 10 female farmers were trained on gourmet mushroom production, and another 10 farmers on crop insurance in partnership with Land Bank Insurance.
Forty-eight communal farmers were trained on livestock management, with focus on small and large stock production systems, production plans and animal identification and brandmarks.
Executive mayor Malefu Vilakazi says the municipality trained the youth of Memel on cooperative good governance and basic vegetable production.
The municipality went further to assist subsistence farmers to apply for the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative whereby more than 2021 farmers benefitted in the programme since Covid-19 caused tremendous pressure on livelihoods of households.
Tabling her 2021/2022 budget, Vilakazi further disclosed that the municipality plans to establish a municipal food garden project at TMDM headquarters whereby the outputs will be used to intensify food security and poverty alleviation through the Executive Mayor’s Outreach programme.
“This is more critical now more than ever before, to ensure basic food availability at household level during these trying times of Covid-19. The municipality afforded farmers a platform to present their business plans to the section 80 committee and these were forwarded to IDC for further scrutiny and consideration for possible funding. The partnership with IDC could not have come at a better time as they have noted the intentions of the municipality and promised to consider these plans and assist where necessary.
“The municipality has set aside R650 000 to try to overcome some key challenges faced by the sector. The remedial actions to overcome the challenges will include the farmers support, taking smallholder farmers to different exhibitions or expos and continue to offer smallholder farmers training or workshops on piggery production, animal nutrition and vegetable production.
“To enable market combination, integration of agricultural activities and rural transformation services, the district will ensure that Agric-park networked innovation system is implemented. Agric-park with its three distinct interrelated components will assist in terms of linking farmers to market, primary collection of produce, storage, value adding, processing of output, provision of extension service including mechanization, equipment hire, packaging, logistics, innovation and training. We also want to thank those good Samaritans who have supported farming and other communities by ensuring water is always available for human and animal consumption as well as animal feed using their own money.”