Farmers granted equipment gifts

Sowetan Reporters

Residents of uMzimkhulu had reason to smile this week when they received state-of-the-art farming implements imported from China.

The equipment was handed to communal farmers in eight wards under the Sisonke municipality. Five tractors and seven mechanised power hoes were among the tools they received, which were gifts from the KwaZulu-Natal government.

During the handing-over ceremony on Tuesday, provincial MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu said the offering of the tools was "not a vote-garnering exercise", but the result of "promises undertaken by the government".

He said the visit was a sequel to last year's visit by the KwaZulu-Natal cabinet led by the premier, S'bu Ndebele, after the incorporation of the uMzimkhulu municipality into KwaZulu-Natal.

uMzimkhulu was incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal after the demarcation of boundaries between the province and Eastern Cape.

During an imbizo organised by the premier, the communities of the various villages within the municipality asked for help from different government departments.

Some of the requests related to agricultural help in the form of mechanised equipment for various agricultural cooperatives located within certain wards in the municipality.

Each department represented had made a commitment of help.

The provincial Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs had promised it would help to procure tractors and mechanised power hoes this year to kick-start a massive agricultural project.

The main objective of the project was to ensure there was food security in line with the department's fight against poverty through agricultural development.

The area of uMzimkhulu had been earmarked as one of the presidential development nodes after a visit to the area by President Thabo Mbeki in October.