As the country faces a cost of living crisis, the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has provided a fool proof solution by launching the 2023/2024 Provincial Multi-Planting Season at Impendle in Umgungundlovu District on Tuesday.
The Provincial Multi-Planting Season is the Department’s holistic approach to aid communities and small-holder farmers, ensuring they have sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Over 20 000 hectares will be planted this season throughout KZN with yellow maize, dry beans and all kinds of vegetables. Farmers will be linked to the market where they will sell their quality produce.
The KZN Premier Mrs Nomusa Dube-Ncube, was joined at the launch by MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Siboniso Duma, MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Super Zuma, the MEC for the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mrs Bongi Sithole-Moloi, the MEC for KZN Education, Mrs Mbali Fraser as well as MEC for Social Development, Mrs Nonhlanhla Khoza.
All Champion MECs will be rolling out the provincial programme within their respective districts. Communities who have partnered with the Department will receive expert advice, farming implements, seedlings and traditional land for cooperative projects.
Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said food security was a national challenge and that the Province of KwaZulu-Natal had a number of households in the poorest rural areas that were facing food insecurity. Therefore, in response, the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development had intervened to assist indigent families and farmers, affording them an opportunity to participate in the mainstream economy of the province.
“This is a season for food security, we will do away with poverty and hunger. We want all of our people to create their own wealth and success. No one should say that they are unemployed when they have land that can produce and sell to the market. We are encouraging communities to work together with Ward committees where they will gain sufficient information. As the KZN government, we want to meet your needs because we are dedicated to working for the people, we also want to see the youth taking an initiative, chasing their stories through farming,” said Mrs Dube-Ncube.
MEC Super Zuma said the rain that fell over Impendle this week was a significant sign of success for the planting season. He emphasized that the KZN Department of Agriculture
and Rural Development would continue to assist rural communities to fight poverty and inequality.
“We will fight hunger and provide food security with our One Home One Garden programme, there must not be a home without a garden. We have been speaking to religious leaders to promote the One Church One Garden programme to their congregants and we have made a plea to them to partner with the Department. We have also taken the programme to schools, the One School One Garden and we have created jobs,” said Mr Super Zuma.
The MECs visited the Ntshiyabantu Communal Estate, a 110-hectare cooperative which will be planting yellow maize this season. Tractors, fertilizer, manure and other chemicals were distributed to benefit all 67 members.
Ntshiyabantu Communal Estate chairperson, Reuben Nkontwana, said families were grateful for the intervention of the Department.
“There is a high level of unemployment here in the rural areas but now that we have land and guaranteed assistance from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, not one family will go hungry. We are hoping for more rain so that we have plenty produce that will bring us enough money for our families,” said Mr Nkontwana.