_: The North West MEC for Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Desbo Mohono says her department will do its best to ensure that indisputable agricultural services are provided, and that this will be done by working closely with farmers.
Mohono said this during her series of meetings with departmental stakeholders, which saw farmers from across the province attending the sessions which were held in their respective districts. While the purpose of the meetings was to introduce the MEC to the farmers, this platform was also created to reflect on the department’s agricultural support services and to allow farmers the opportunity to interact with the MEC on pertinent sector issues.
In encouraging farmers to value the services already provided by the department, MEC Mohono issued a stern warning against the continued leasing out or selling of provided agricultural infrastructure by some farmers, saying this disturbing conduct is taking government many steps backward in its effort to develop rural farmers.
“Mismanagement of government provided machineries is an offence, especially to the hard working rural farmers who need such infrastructure. Help us to help you and others, and use what has been provided valuably”, urged MEC Mohono.
Common issues raised by farmers throughout the meetings included amongst others, the need for improved support in developing agricultural business plans, improved agricultural extension and veterinary services, as well as land acquisition and settlement support services.
Welcoming the issues raised by farmers, MEC Mohono admitted that much needed to be done is so far as support to business plans development is concerned. She discouraged farmers from spending money to get their plans developed, saying “business plans development remains the responsibility of the department, which is done at a free cost”, confirmed MEC Mohono.
“We will ensure that the capacity needed to render this service is attended to, and that lack of feedback on the outcome of all business plans submitted to the department becomes a thing of the past”, promised MEC Mohono.
Equally, Mohono conceded that the shortage of Veterinarians in the country has affected the services needed in this regard, but committed the department’s Animal Health Technicians to playing their part by rendering primary animal health care services needed, without any compromise. Similarly, agricultural extension officers were also encouraged to jealously inculcate a culture of working together with farmers, in an effort to give rise to skilled agricultural producers.
MEC Mohono appreciated the commitment shown by farmers in taking agriculture in the North West Province to its rightful place, saying she will make sure that in working together with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, issues raised by farmers are competently addressed. The meetings started last week Monday and ended on Saturday, 15th September 2012.