WC Dept of Agriculture strengthens food security through food gardens, skills programs and land reform support

20 Oct 2022 in Where We Govern

During the tabling of the Provincial Department of Agriculture’s Annual Report for 2021/22, the Department’s commitment to food security stood out.

With the high prices of food and the effects of the lockdowns putting pressure on people’s ability to put food on the table, the Department has had some considerable successes in relieving this pressure.

The Department supported 2780 food garden projects in all, including 142 larger community-based food gardens. These gardens help families and communities to grow their own fresh and healthy food.

Furthermore, the Department made sure that the agriculture sector has the necessary skills to ensure food production can continue grow robustly. In the last financial year, 158 bursaries were awarded to financially challenged students to allow them to participate in Higher Education and Training, as wells Agricultural Skills Development Programmes. The Department also provided short course skills development training to 4 032 beneficiaries in the sector, 169% more than the original target for the year.

The failures of land reform in South Africa are common knowledge, but in the Western Cape, the Provincial Government does not stand idly by while beneficiaries struggle. 81 land reform projects received support from the Department, with 35 of these being linked to mentors who provided advice and helped facilitate access to markets, something that is critical to business sustainability.

MPP Andricus van der Westhuizen said: “Where the DA governs, we make sure our farmers, and especially our land reform farmers, have the tools they need to be successful. By investing in the upskilling of the sector’s labour force, we are making sure that productivity in agriculture can continue to grow unabated.

In these tough times, where food security is a worry in many homes, the citizens of the Western Cape can rest assured that the Western Cape Government cares enough to take every effort to ensure the sustainability and reliability of food production in the province.”