Kwazulu — Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube says young entrepreneurs need to take advantage of the entire agricultural value chain, including agribusiness.
“We are proud of the young people who, through the Provincial Youth Fund, are already playing an important role in agricultural space and helping our province create much-needed jobs,” said Dube-Ncube.
The Prime Minister made the remarks during the unveiling of the multi-planting season scheme, which aims to provide needed assistance to disadvantaged farmers.
Dube-Ncube said there is a need to focus on youth and women in agriculture as the majority of the population is made up of youth and women.
“Furthermore, it is always said that the face of poverty is that of a woman. Therefore, it is crucial that we involve women and young people in programs and projects aimed at eradicating poverty,” said Dube- Ncube.
According to a recent report by the 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 has a strong ripple effect on economic and social development outcomes.
The report, titled Breaking Barriers: Women and Youth in Agribusiness, also highlights that with adequate working conditions and compensation, agricultural employment could help create a platform from which more favorable outcomes for women and young can be obtained.
Dube-Ncube said women and youth play a crucial role in the agribusiness sector across the world, adding that agriculture is the biggest source of employment for women and the growing youth population in sub-Saharan Africa.
Farmers helped cultivate more than 22,000 hectares
Dube-Ncube said that in the 2022/23 financial year, the Ministry of Agriculture has helped farmers cultivate 22,310 hectares in the 11 municipal districts.
She said a total of 2,000 hectares will be planted in uGu district during the multi-planting season.
“Corn plantation will occupy 1,300 hectares while bean plantation will occupy 350 hectares. Vegetables will occupy 350 hectares.
“The multi-planting season in uGu district has created employment opportunities for 800 people, including 650 women, 150 men, 50 youths and 10 disabled people,” she said.
Smallholder farmers are still recovering from the aftermath of the floods
The Prime Minister noted that small farmers were heavily affected by the destructive floods that hit the province in April and May this year, and it will take some time for them to recover from the aftermath of the floods.
“These floods, which have been 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.
“Government intervention in the form of a multiple planting season program 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 maintaining food and nutrition security in rural communities during and after COVID-19, hence the need to increase their support,” the Prime Minister said.
She called on the private sector to support government efforts, providing loans to finance black economic empowerment deals in agriculture.
“Government funding may not go far enough, especially in the agribusiness and value-added part of agriculture, for previously marginalized people to play a meaningful role.”