ADDRESS BY GAUTENG PREMIER,Ms NOMVULA MOKONYANE, DURING
THE OCCASION OF THE EXCELLENCE IN FARMING AWARDS
16 August 2012
Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwiti
Gauteng MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development and Social Development,
Sponsors who contributed towards the financing of the Expo
All Exhibitors and Farmers that will be honoured here tonight
All Government Managers present
Members of the Media present
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For a long time in our history the true toilers of the soil, the cultivators of the land
and producers of food have always been women. This situation has been more
pronounced in our country as a result of numerous oppressive and racial
legislatives such as the 1913 Land Act, Influx Control and many others.
Owing to these laws women were left in the barren homelands and the rural
areas to work the land in order to fend for their families while men were exploited
in the cities and towns of our country. Women remained, even today, the bedrock
of families. In the face of systemic onslaught against the traditional family
structure by apartheid laws leading to disintegration of families women serve as
the last pillar that hold the structure together. The resilience of our women has
always been tested and found to be extraordinary.
It is therefore befitting we come together tonight at a time when we celebrate the
power and greatness of Women of South Africa. It is indeed an honour for me to
address you in August, the month in which we pay homage and honour the
gallant struggle of the women of 1956 who bravely marched in defiance of the
abhorrent racial system of government espoused by the then apartheid regime.
Throughout our history, as I indicated, the role of women in society can never be
under estimated or underplayed as women are the bedrock upon which the
family is built. Women are not only nurturers, but in many instance the providers
of their families. It is therefore disheartening and saddening that as we celebrate
women and their contribution, many women still face tremendous hardships both
economically and socially, where women are being abused, raped and even
Recently, the country has been in a state of shock as the result of callous act of
criminality and cowardice directed to our elderly women who are violated by
young men in our midst. The perpetrators of such evil cannot be allowed to roam
our streets freely because women will always be prey to such predators. We
therefore urge all citizens to stand up against all forms of abuse against women
and children and ensure that perpetrators of such atrocities are brought to book.
Tonight, we gather here at the Nasrec Expo Centre for the 2 nd African Farmers
Expo and Workshop. I am aware that this initiative combined with an inaugural
workshop, took place last year under the name of the `Black Farmers Expo and
Workshop’ at the Tshwane Show grounds and the feedback and reviews I have
received indicated that it was a resounding success. I am encouraged in
particular to note that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has
executed the critical function of reviving agricultural expos, an important mandate
in our Provincial program of action.
We, therefore, should applaud the MEC and leadership of the Department of
Agriculture and Rural Development, as Government we are cognizant of the fact
that the Agricultural Sector is a critical economic sector responsible for our food
Let me also take this moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the
sponsors of this Agricultural Expo. Our Government firmly believes that together
we can indeed do more through private and public partnerships, where
collectively we join hands in addressing the challenges facing our country. It is
therefore pleasing to say that this Agri-Expo is in itself a clear demonstration and
testament to how when we join hands together as Government and the private
sector, we can, in this instance, address some of the challenges faced by
smallholder farmers, while ensuring that our country becomes food secure.
By forging this partnership and having the expo, we are able to address
challenges our farmers face that include access to information about suppliers of
various agricultural inputs, suppliers of mechanization (Tractors) and related
equipment and all agricultural types of infrastructure necessary for a successful
farming operation. Of outmost significance, this Agri-Expo platform creates
interaction with potential buyers of the produce of smallholder farmers, a critical
element in their productivity and profitability of their enterprises.
Our mandate of agricultural development in a province such as Gauteng is very
much relevant today and in the future in view of the ever increasing food security
pressures that our country faces. It is partly because of this challenge that
Gauteng continues to be the centre of in-migration such that today we have
become the province with the largest population of 11.3million out of 50million
South Africans. In the same context, we cannot fold our arms and hope for
miracles. We therefore remain vigilant in implementing our programmes and
initiatives of ensuring household food security, productive and sustainable
farmers which are being capacitated to be able to undertake agro-processing of
their produce and create jobs through the revised Gauteng Agricultural
Development Strategy (GADS) linked to the Gauteng Employment, Growth and
Development Strategy (GEDGS). These strategies remain significant part of our
Programme of Action underpinned by the 8 outcomes that we have adopted as a
Honourable Minister, MEC, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to highlight in particular Outcome 7 that is about ensuring Vibrant,
equitable, sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security for
We fully note that successful economic growth encompassing agriculture is
centered on ensuring the interaction of various programmes and projects which
work together in combination to achieve the outcome I have just mentioned.
Training and mentoring of smallholder farmers to be more productive and
participate meaningfully in the agriculture value chain is a fundamental aspect of
our work and this agri-expo provides additional platform through the workshops
that have been organized for farmers to interact with potential service and input
providers as well as mentors in this regard.
We have often heard of different statistics and percentages of farmers who are
not succeeding, it is also said that most of these farmers are beneficiaries of
various programs which include land reform. Tonight as we are honoring farmers
who have excelled in their various enterprises in the categories of poultry, dairy,
livestock, grains and fresh produce; let this be a reminder that there is excellence
out there that sometimes goes unnoticed. It is all our responsibility to ensure that
such a trend does not continue.
We have changed gears; we have changed our course to ensure that this
excellence does not go unnoticed forever. It is furthermore our aim to ensure that
success must continue to breed more success. Therefore this recognition must
serve to provide further impetus and momentum to our smallholder farmers to
continue striving to perform optimally in accordance with the capacity of their
farms. In addition, in the coming week, in accordance with August month that I
have already alluded to, we will furthermore be honouring female farmers
through our Annual Agri-business Women of the Year competition.
We firmly believe that this excellence is not in isolation, but it is a manifestation of
increased support that we have provided as government in addition to efforts of
mitigating systemic efforts that have sought to undermine development of all
farmers in particular smallholder farmers.
We are encouraged as we have witnessed the competition commission dealing
successfully with some of these incidences of fixing agricultural inputs. I implore
upon our exhibitors and all agricultural input suppliers to be good examples in
ensuring that fair and ethical business practices in particular with regard to
pricing becomes the norm.
As I conclude I wish to congratulate winners of this year `s Gauteng African
Farmers Agri-Expo Excellence in farming awards. I also wish to thank in earnest
all exhibitors who are making this initiative a success. It will be a malicious
omission if I do not congratulate the MEC and staff of GDARD for once more
delivering a successful Agri-Expo a part of our long term goal of reviving and
building sustainable agricultural expos in Gauteng.
We are proud of all of you who work our land for the survival of all that depends
on it, be it humans, animals and flora.