Young Entrepreneurs Must Take Advantage of Agriculture Value Chain
Kwazulu — Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, says youth entrepreneurs must take advantage of the entire agriculture value chain, including agro-processing.
“We are proud of the young people who through the Provincial Youth Fund are already playing a significant role in the agricultural space and helping our province create much-needed jobs,” Dube-Ncube said.
The Premier made the remarks at the unveiling of the Multi-Planting Season Programme, which aims to provide necessary assistance to underprivileged farmers.
Dube-Ncube said there is a need to focus on youth and women in agriculture, because the majority of the population is made up of youth and women.
“Moreover, it is always said that the face of poverty is that of a woman. Therefore, it is crucial that we involve women and youth in programmes and projects that aim to eradicate poverty,” Dube-Ncube said.
According to a recent report by African Union Development Agency, agribusiness remains central to food security, job creation, and inclusive growth in many low-income countries.
It provides decent jobs and incomes for women and youth in agribusiness, which have an important spillover effect on economic and social development outcomes.
The report, entitled Breaking Barriers: Women and Youth in Agribusiness, also points out that with the right working conditions and remuneration, agricultural employment could help to create a platform from which more favourable outcomes for women and youth can be realised.
Dube-Ncube said women and youth play a crucial role in the agribusiness sector across the globe, adding that agriculture is the most important source of employment for women and the rising youth population in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Farmers assisted to cultivate over 22 000 hectares
Dube-Ncube said in the 2022/23 financial year, the Department of Agriculture has assisted farmers to cultivate 22 310 hectares in the 11 municipal districts.
She said that a total of 2 000 hectares will be planted in uGu District during the multi-planting season.
“The planting of maize will take 1 300 hectares while the planting of beans will occupy 350 hectares. Vegetables will take 350 hectares.
“The multi-planting season in uGu District has created job opportunities to 800 people, comprising of 650 females, 150 males, 50 young people and 10 people living with disabilities,” she said.
Small-scale farmers still recovering from after-effects of floods
The Premier noted that small-scale farmers were heavily affected by the destructive floods that battered the province in April and May this year, and it will take some time for them to recover from the after-effects of the floods.
“These floods, which were described as the worst to hit South Africa in history, destroyed agricultural crops, which had a very negative impact on food production, food security and the economy of KwaZulu-Natal.
“The government’s intervention in the form of Multi-Planting Season Programme is an effort to cushion the blows while simultaneously ensuring that food security is not compromised. Smallholder farmers have a huge role to play in sustaining food and nutrition security in rural communities during and post COVID-19, hence the need to increase support for them,” the Premier said.
She called on private sector to support government’s efforts, by extending loans to finance Black Economic Empowerment deals in the agriculture sector.
“Government funding may not go far enough, particularly in the agro-processing and value-adding part of the agriculture for the previously marginalized to play a meaningful role.”
Read the original article on SAnews.gov.za.