Black farmers need more help from government

Black urban farmers in the U.S. sow seeds to end 'food apartheid.
Black urban farmers in the U.S. sow seeds to end 'food apartheid.

Having read an article by political correspondent Andisiwe Makinana a few days ago about how local governments must take a more proactive role in supporting small-scale food traders and producers, I was reminded of an interview I had with Dineo Mokgoshi of Sekgometsi Bagoshi Agricultural Cooperative in Winterveld, outside the City of Tshwane, a while ago about her triumphs and difficulties in running her farming business.

The cooperative is not only one of the main poultry suppliers in Tshwane but in the country and the business has operational challenges that need to be resolved in a more coordinated way by the government structures that are there to help emerging farmers.

More coordinated and proactive collaboration between local, provincial, and national governments is needed to assist farmers in obtaining environmental impact assessment certificates, approval of plans in the construction of structures that comply with good agricultural practices as well as getting water rights certificates.

Although there are many funding mechanisms like the comprehensive agricultural support programme, blended finance, and the presidential employment stimulus, and others, the inter-ministerial committee on land reform needs to call for more interdepartmental coordination to assist many black farmers who want to get involved in the whole agricultural value chain.

This will echo minister Thoko Didiza’s unequivocal sentiments during the webinar speech on the role of women in food systems in August this year when she said that actions and solutions need to be shared by all government institutions and need to be anchored on existing government policy instruments and programmes.

This will also help in closing identified gaps within government policy and programmes, thereby achieving the goals of ending hunger, malnutrition, and poverty, and putting our economy on a sustainable trajectory.

Furthermore, there’s a need to also embark on meaningful public-private partnerships with the private sector, academia, and international partners in the quest to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and National Development Plan 2030.

Rankepile Khomo, Masechaba View, Duduza

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