Future of Nelson Mandela Bay food producers discussed

JULY 29, 2015

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Uitenhage Despatch Development Initiative held an Inaugural Annual Agri-Indaba at the Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre in Uitenhage on Tuesday.

The Indaba, themed 'The Future of Food Producers in the Nelson Mandela Bay Region'  was attended by the MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, and Nelson Mandela Bay's Deputy Executive Mayor, Cllr Bicks Ndoni, and the UDDI's Patricia Dlamini.

It aimed at addressing challenges faced by both upcoming/emerging and established farmers and was also aimed at establishing linkages between producers, marketers and financiers and encouraging the youth to regard farming as a possible career option.

In his address, Deputy Executive Mayor Ndoni said, "I would like to applaud MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane for the vital role he has played in reviving agriculture throughout the Eastern Cape.

"Today, the UDDI is creating a platform to establish and motivate current farmers to be successful so that they can also create job opportunities in the quest to eradicate poverty. And we must encourage the youth to make agriculture part of our lives and encourage our children to become farmers. Simultaneously, however we need to address the challenges that are still facing our current farmers.”

Addressing the guests, MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane shared the same sentiments: “To overcome poverty, we need to fight it together. I saw a lot of vacant land here that can be utilised to address what we have failed to do since 1994, which has landed us in this situation.

"And if we could’ve started from the bottom, we will be seeing a brighter picture where people are working. Agriculture can create job opportunities, and we hope that women will also become valued members of the agricultural sector.”

Farmers were thrilled to be part of the Indaba.

Monde Stokwe, who is part of cooperative that runs a farm in Uitenhage, said, “The Indaba was very informative. It left us with the question, “How much are we as farmers in the Metro doing to produce food, job security and agri processing? Now the challenge is for us to get the produce in order to create job opportunities.

"However, we will need to address the challenges facing us in that regard, such as obtaining land and financial support. This session and platform will assist us in that regard," said Stokwe.

Image: MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane during an Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries MinMEC held in June.