A! Agriculture Launch, Farmers’ Opportunities

By Danny Azania Mashita (2015 Activator)

Apart from mining, agriculture plays a chiefly role in the economy of Limpopo Province as well as it is considered to be the main source for food security in South Africa. For decades, agriculture has been related with the production of vital food crops. The present era of farming in Limpopo contains dairy, fruit, forestry, poultry and arbitrary. However it could be referred to as promotion, processing, marketing, distribution of crops and livestock products. It also provides more employment opportunities.

Over the years, the South African government – particularly the Department of Small Business Development – has encouraged young people to establish co-operatives within their communities which they can serve as a stepping stone towards eradicating poverty, creating jobs and economic growth with opportunities through agricultural activities. To date, the programme of encouraging the establishment of cooperatives has failed as a result of high numbers of co-operatives or being inactive. It is reported that youth are failing to operate and grow as a result of:

  • Lack of support (government of private sectors)
  • Financial stability and unstable cash flow
  • Funding and financial sustainability
  • Book keeping
  • Staff disengagement
  • Deadwood and lack of compliance
  • Inability to compete with other farmers and producers within the same region
  • Political agenda
  • Geographical factors
  • Discrimination 

We had then noted a need to provide and equip these farmers with education around the agricultural sector, connect them with relevant stakeholders such as the Department of Agriculture, LEDET, SEDA, NYDA, their local municipalities and other private stakeholders that can provide support and funding opportunities. On the 27th November 2021, Activate launched the Agriculture Sector in Limpopo Province. Lead by the sector coordinator Nathacia Olivier and the organizing team Danny Azania Mashita and Khomotso Komape. ACTIVATE! partnered with the Department of Agriculture and Land Reform (National Office), SEDA, Polokwane Municipality and the host Capricorn District Municipality. The main role of the above mentioned stakeholders was to recognize, provide information, opportunities and support for local farmers particularly those who are from deep rural areas. The main aim of the event was to change the attitude amongst young people and awareness around the importance of working together as farmers to be able to qualify for other opportunities such as funding so that they can grow from being back garden farmers to commercial farmers. 

The key objectives of the event were:

  • Sharing knowledge within the agri-space with the intention of changing the mindset & behavior regarding the importance of aspects aligned to agriculture sector, how technology affects these sectors the uses, advantages and disadvantages as well;
  • Getting youth voices heard & coming up with real-time based solutions that will be implemented;
  • Sharing knowledge, skills, promoting, growing & creating a sense of awareness about the importance of what exists & also allow for a transformative state to take place in various communities;
  • Lastly, to foster better virtual online collaborations & connection between Activators & invited industry experts/guests, allowing them to embrace the use of any tools or free services available for their own benefit aligned to agriculture.

The event began at 10:00 at SABS Park (Polokwane CBD) with the farmers flee market. We provided enough space and logistics for our farmers to display their products with aim to expose their work to the public, give them an opportunity to interact with their target market and introduce their products/brand. Our farmers managed to bring along products such as vegetable (tomatoes, green beans, spinach, beetroot etc.), processed products such as braai sauces, archaar, juices just to name few. 

The event later moved to the 2nd venue Polokwane Library Auditorium which it was information sharing programme. We had officials from the Department of Agriculture and SEDA who presented their work and responsibilities as stakeholders. As part of their presentations, the Department of Agriculture shared more information on their services, funding opportunities and support for local farmers. The stakeholders welcomed the programme particularly the department, and they are in full support of the programme as there are plans to in place to provide support  for this programme and a long term partnership ensuring that we reach the majority of farmers within all 9 provinces of South Africa.  

These kind of programmes shall ensure sustainable growth amongst farmers and provided necessary information that will enable more participation in farming to help eradicate poverty and unemployment within our communities.

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