The DA is concerned that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has failed to meet its targets for its Farmer Support and Development programme during the second quarter of the 2017/2018 financial year.
Training of women and commercial farmers is important as they will be provided with the necessary skills needed to help alleviate poverty as well as ensure the transfer of critical skills.
The department only managed to support three out of a target of 15 women farmers, while only seven commercial farmers out of the targeted 20 were supported.
The current economic climate in the country is pushing up the price of food, while the drought currently being experienced in some parts of the country has a negative impact on crops, livestock and rooftop farms.
In the research and technology development programme, the department intended to train 80 farmers in water saving technologies, but this did not take place because the appointment of a service provider was delayed.
This is unacceptable as the agriculture sector has the potential to boost the economy of Gauteng, which in turn will lead to the creation of more job opportunities.
By not meeting the targets set by the department, the ANC-led government shows that it does not care about the people of Gauteng.
The DA calls on the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile to urgently do more to ensure that women farmers are given the support they need so that they are able to provide for their families.
We also call on the MEC to ensure that the 80 farmers who were supposed to be trained in water saving technologies receive this training as a matter of urgency.
The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC to ensure that farmers receive the training and education that they need.
The DA believes that agriculture plays a huge role in food security and it is the government’s responsibility to provide an enabling environment for this economic activity.