Speaking at an imbizo held in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria, Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini said children and youth must be taught about farming because they are the ones who will continue with farming when the elders are no longer around.
“We call on the elderly to familiarise their children with farming. We need more young entrepreneurs in the area of farming,” she said.
The Deputy Minister visited Winterveldt as part of National Imbizo Focus Week, which started on Monday.
She started the imbizo by visiting cucumber, poultry and vegetable farms. She told the local farmers that they need to organise themselves and speak in one voice when approaching government for assistance. She encouraged the farmers to establish fora where they can discuss their problems.
Responding to those who raised concerns about the lack of land to carry out farming activities, Minister Dlamini said government is ready to buy the land if it is available.
“If the land is available, government will buy that land and make it available to those farmers who need the land. People should appreciate what government is doing for them,” she said.
In light of the drought, Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini also encouraged farmers to reduce the number of their livestock and buy for the remaining animals.
Farmer Kobela Mokgohloa (28), who owns a cucumber farm, was one of those who was visited by the Deputy Minister. He told SAnews that being a farmer was his life-long dream.
Mokgohloa started farming in 2006 and has employed 20 people. He said the scarcity of water is the most serious challenge he faces. The Tshwane Fresh Produce Market is his main client.
Another young farmer whom the Deputy Minister visited is Clement Pilusa (26). He was the overall winner in the national competition sponsored by SAB for young entrepreneurs in farming.
Pilusa is a poultry farmer and started farming in 2012 while doing his final year at the Tshwane University of Technology studying agriculture.
He said he is working towards getting land to grow his business. He currently has four people in his employ and he is looking forward to expanding his staff.
He encouraged other youngsters to get involved in farming and create jobs for other young people.
“They must not do it for the sake of money, they must have passion and work hard and the rest will follow,” he said.