By Bonolo Mohlakoana
Rustenburg – Agriculture is one the key drivers of the economy in North West. It contributes 2.9 % to the GDP in the provincial economy. The province is also the third largest producer of maize and this translates into seventeen (17%) percent of maize produced in South Africa.
While the province is leading the pack in terms of poultry production as well as vegetable produce such as beetroot and onions it is trailing behind in terms of agro-processing. North West Premier, Bushy Kaobitsa Maape maintains this needs to change.
“We need to build partnerships with established and emerging farmers, but critically we need to prioritise investments on agricultural infrastructure and facilities. Moreover, we need put more emphasis on mentorship and training for emerging farmers. This will go a long way in accelerating transformation in the sector through expanding our production but most vitally prioritizing access to markets” remarked Premier Maape.
Government is looking at capitalising on the provincial and district corridors to lure investments into the province. Among others, this will be carried out through the Accelerated Service Delivery Plan to respond to challenges such as water provision and road infrastructure.
“The plan is assisting us in creating a tangible environment for business to thrive in our province. We are busy patching potholes and resurfacing our roads so that our produce can move with ease from one point to the other. This model is being implemented across the province” Premier Maape said.
MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Desbo Mohono said a turn-around strategy has been developed to enhance performance of the agricultural sector in the province.
“One of the pillars is aggregation which is market access model were investment is made on infrastructure and facilities to accelerate sustainable access to markets for emerging farmers. This include the investments on priority value chains which are able to enhance performance of multiple producers within a specific geographic location” remarked MEC Mohono.
The meeting with farmers forms part of ongoing efforts by government to resuscitate and grow the sector while creating opportunities for new entrants to participate actively in the provincial economy.