17 November 2018


THE OFFICIAL BOKONE BOPHIRIMA GOVERNMENT NEWSPAPER

State’s farmer assistance programme produces good results

by: Thebe Itumeleng   date: 03 August 2018

Famers from the four districts of Bokone Bophirima province marked the harvest season in Waterford Farm near Mareetsane village last week with joy. 

They commended the provincial government’s Crop Massification Programme meant to assist struggling farmers back into production, with inputs to plough their arable land.
 
The programme - led by the Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ) - supports famers in various ways including technical advice, crop production resources, marketing and provision of mechanisation.
 
Agriculture in the province is one of the most important economic activities and the provincial government has over the years given it a priority to improve food security, grow the economy and create jobs.
 
Although harvesting is still ongoing in some parts of the province, many beneficiaries of the Crop Massification Programme are reporting satisfactory yields and praised READ for helping disadvantaged farming communities and creating sustainable businesses within the agricultural industry.

One of the programme’s beneficiaries is Obakeng Ezekiel Melke from Mofufutso 2 near Khunwana village. 

“I want to sincerely thank our government for extending a helping hand to us, poor communities. Today my business is growing,” Melke said.

His sentiments were shared by Rathoto Legoete, a crop farmer from Mooifontein area in Ngaka Modiri Molema District. Legoete plants maize and sunflower. He has also benefitted from the Crop Massification Programme of the department after undergoing an assessment in 2013. Together with other farmers, he received tractors, fertilisers and other farming equipment to grow his business.
 
“I want to thank everyone who is involved in this programme by assisting us the emerging farmers in Ngaka Modiri Molema. It is through this programme that we were identified and assisted. We received tractors, litres of diesel and fertilisers, all sponsored by government and for that I say thank you,” he said.
 
Speaking on behalf of farmers, Professor Wilfred Legotlo, said they were happy to be witnesses to government fulfilling its promises. He said the Crop Massification Programme creates a platform for farmers to be competitive.

Speaking at the Waterford farm event, MEC Tlhape said the Crop Massification Programme is meant to increase crop production in the province and ultimately push back the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. 
 
“Emerging farmers are crucial role players in the local economic development and poverty eradication. We want to see them employing and training young people in farming as a liberating and viable option of economic development,” she said. 

Crop Massification Programme in the province targets emerging farmers plying their trade under difficult circumstances due to lack of resources.
 
Smallholder and commercial farmers in Bokone Bophirima who received assistance in the form of crop production inputs during the 2017/18 financial year are harvesting maize, sunflower, groundnuts and beans in a total of 16 132 hectares.

For the 2018/19 financial year, the department intends to support planting on over 14 000ha, a programme that is envisaged to benefit 474 farmers in the province. A total budget of R50,5 million has been set aside for this purpose.