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‘We want a sustainable future for agriculture’

20 Sep 2019

The Witness

newsed@witness.co.za

ZoomBookmarkSharePrintListenTranslateTHE future of agriculture in the province and ways to seek a sustainable way forward for the sector were at the top of the agenda yesterday at the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union’s (Kwanalu) annual congress.

More than 200 farmers attended Kwanalu’s 21st congress at the Royal Showgrounds.

This year’s theme was “Advancing agriculture for today and future generations”.

This was to address concerns of the agricultural body’s members that farmers are solely responsible for land reform.

Kwanalu’s CEO Sandy La Marque said: “It is with an eye firmly and realistically on the future of the sector in the province that we convened our annual congress.

“Our goal is to equip our farmers with knowledge, and to give them direct access to well-informed and pertinent leaders in our country, with information relevant to our sector in order for farmers of KZN to plan for a sustainable future for their agribusinesses.”

Speaking at the congress, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng encouraged farmers to unite within their sector.

Mogoeng said farmers were vital to the future of the economy of South Africa, encouraging them to engage with the public sector.

“Farmers must stubbornly persevere to ensure the agricultural sector is developed to its full potential and refuse to allow themselves to be marginalised and to insist on being part of the solution,” he told the audience.

Speaking on the land issue, Mogoeng, told farmers not to view themselves as victims but rather as part of the solution.

Bongi Sithole-Moloi, MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, said government has committed to ensuring that agriculture becomes a critical focus to ensure food security and job creation.

“Recently, our department embarked on a journey to develop its 2020-2025 strategy.

“As part of this process, we will be inviting participation and input from all agricultural stakeholders, such as Kwanalu, to help outline our roadmap to navigate the changing dynamics of the agricultural industry,” Sithole-Moloi told farmer delegates.

Meanwhile, Eshowe sugarcane farmer, Simon D’Aubrey was announced as Kwanalu’s young farmer of the year for 2019.

D’Aubrey (38) will go on to compete in the Toyota SA/Agri SA National Young Farmer of the Year competition 2019 held later this year.