Kranspoort Farm – On July 24, 2018 Mpumalanga MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Vusi Shongwe met Thembisile Hani Local Municipality farmers at Kranspoort farm to address the experienced farming challenges and pave the way forward to develop all farmers within the region.
During the meeting farmers complained about not knowing their extension officers, not aware as to who is responsible to attend their concerns such malfunctioned farming tools such broken tractor, late supply of seeds, officials corruption, to mentioned a few.
The newly appointed Head of Department (HOD) Mr LS Monareng addressed farmers in attendance. His point of departure was the lack of scheduled meetings. “I’ve met with farmers and Agricultural Development Committee (ADC) from all the district municipalities to discuss their problems. Farmers should send they concerns to ADC and they report to me directly,” said Monareng. Nkangala have almost 200 tractors and less than 20 are still running. The department is no longer responsible for the tractors but the farmers and drivers should take care of them so that they can last longer.
Agriculture is the basic source of food supply of all the countries of the world—whether underdeveloped, developing or even developed. Raising supply of food by agricultural sector has, therefore, great importance for economic growth of our country. “Most government officials struggle to interact with citizens but the little we do is acknowledged. This makes us happy,” said Shongwe.
The Masibuyele esibayeni project has enriched some farmers with livestock. Pigs and cattle, especially Drakensberg bulls were given to a number of individuals by the department. The department plan to develop Feed Lodge at Zaaihoek to feed all the livestock from the area. Dr JS Moroka is almost done with their Agrihub for fresh produce market. Thembisile Hani local Municipality will follow as soon as the buget is allocated accordingly. Woolworth’s outlet will buy free range meat from local farmers, said Shongwe.
Not every farmer agreed with Shongwe. “Personally I’m not sure if I should trust him. He said other farmers have received tractors but we have no proof,” said Mrs Masilela from Sun City AA in KwaMhlanga. Mr Mashiana, chairman of Manala Mgibe from Kwaaspruit will only belief once the department has delivered.
Shongwe indicated that he would like to implement the sharing strategy used in Bushbuckridge where the department has signed a contract with farmers, borrowed them a tractor, let them buy themselves a diesel, pay the driver from their pocket, fix it when its broken. “We do understand that not everyone can qualify to do so but you can use your grant to apply this option,” concluded Shongwe.