VIEWS: 11 PAGES: 5 CATEGORY: Childrens Literature POSTED ON: 12/7/2009
LAND HAND-OVER CELEBRATION AT BESSIESVLEI FARM TO MARK JUNE LAN
Female Farmer of the Year Awards Limpopo Province Delivered by Hon Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs Ms Lulu Xingwana 11 August 2006 Programme Director Hon MEC for Agriculture and Land Affairs, Dikeledi Magadzi Chief Land Claims Commissioner, Tozi Gwanya Regional Land Claims Comissioner, Mashile Mokono General Manager for Land & Agrarian Reform, Ms Jane Thupana Members of Parliament here present Executive Mayor Councillors Traditional Leaders All Farmers and members of Organised Agriculture (NAFU, AgriSA, TAU) Best Female Farmers for today and many other female farmers who are not here. Members of the Media, who have been very kind to spend the whole day with us today Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Wathinta bafazi…… Wathinti mbokodo!!! Wathinti mbokodo…..Wathinta bafazi!! Uzokufa!!! Today we are here to celebrate the resounding success of women in agriculture in this province. I am particularly impressed by the mix of women, who participated in this competition, from small producers who are producing poultry, vegetables and other livelihood crops, to those producing for the local market, to those who sell their produce as far as Johannesburg, such as horticulture and livestock products, as well as those who produce for exports. This means that the Female Farmer of the Year project recognises that women are involved at all levels of agriculture, regardless of status, geographic location, social or economic status. It recognises that every woman works very hard every day, to put food on the table. Some Districts are better endowed with natural resources than others. Vembe and Mopani Municipalities are 1 blessed with water and rich tropical soils whilst other Municipalities are not. Some of us are victims of the apartheid spatial planning, where the historically disadvantaged people find themselves in congested areas where there is pressure on natural resources. This democratic government, led by the African National Congress, has prioritised development in these depressed areas, hence the presidential Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme (ISRDP). This may mean that those of you who are small producers from the depressed areas must begin to think big. You must begin to dream dreams. Identify an opportunity from every problem you encounter. Begin to “massify” production like the people of OR Tambo municipality did when their storage facilities were overflowing with maize. You must begin to “massify” poultry production, vegetable production, tomato production. Begin to think about graduating from the small producer to the exporter. If you are already an exporter, think about increasing volumes and thus increase your returns. This attitude will enable us to achieve the noble goal of economic growth, it will help us to create jobs, and it will take us to a world where poverty is a thing of the past. African agriculture survives or grows because of women. If you look at who are working on farms, whether commercial or communal you will soon realise that it is women. We are the ones who make agriculture work. It is very sad that the male dominated agricultural business has not rewarded nor recognised the role of women in agriculture. Today we are here to say: “Stand up woman and take your rightful position in agriculture” “Stand up and do what you are best at, to produce and prepare that food for your children” “Stand up and let your efforts be rewarded in the business of agriculture” “Stand up and be counted among the best leaders in this sector, both here at home and beyond our borders” One of the most important things in my priority list in this Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs is the establishment of the Women’s Agriculture and Rural Development Association 2 (WARDA). The idea is that WARDa must have Provincial Chapters in the various districts and local municipalities. The aims of WARDa shall include the following: that Women must participate actively in agricultural production, value adding processing, marketing and business development. Youth and people with disability are enabled to participate in local economic development. This involves providing facilities and funding for their projects and programmes. Rural communities are organised to work in groups or co- operatives so that they can enjoy associated benefits such as bulk buying discounts, co-ordinated marketing etc. Practical focused sustainable projects and programmes that improve the quality of life of our rural communities. This must lead to job creation and poverty alleviation. We must stop the wholesale urban migration because there are no jobs in the urban centres. Evidence of this is the growing squatters in our towns, where our people remain unemployed and very poor. In Pretoria and Johannesburg, we have seen a growing number of people who are sleeping in the streets, because they cant afford rent, even in the shanty towns. Such people must come back to the rural areas. WARDa must be a mass movement that galvanises our rural people for socio-economic freedom. We have earned our political freedom but we must still work even harder to get the economic freedom for all of our people. This week we are celebrating 50 years of the women’s struggle against oppression. Women are able to organise, mobilise, lobby, advocate and get the desired results, just in time. WARDa must be a vehicle for socio-economic empowerment, capacity building, training and equipping of our people. We have a number of women initiatives in other sectors, but you will agree with me that, if we want to see success in agriculture and rural development we must have strong women’s groups. We are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, such as Lillian Ngoyi, Ellen Khuzwayo, Helen Joseph and many others. They fought for our freedom and we must defend the legacy that they stood for. They condemned the eviction of women on farms, which always happens in winter, when it is very 3 cold. They condemned child labour and all forms of rape. They condemned violence against women and children. They embraced gender equity at all levels of our society. We must take over from where they left and strive for economic freedom, for participation of women in the mainstream of our economy. We must support one another so that we can all grow. Let us adopt the saying “Lift -as -you -Rise”. Those who are in business must show others how to get in, those who have grown must show others how to grow, in this way we shall grow and remain stronger everyday. I am aware that most of our women have challenges such as funding, technical expertise, appropriate equipment, farming systems, marketing and financial management. These problems are not new and they are not insurmountable. They say “where there is a will, there is a way”. We must always see a stepping stone in every stumbling block that comes our way. We have programmes like CASP, which are intended to help you address these challenges. Honourable MEC, we must use the 50 : 50 principle to assess the extent to which our programmes, such as CASP, are able to assist women. We must always access to what extent do our land reform programmes enable our women to own land. The Land Claims Commission has told me that about 25% of the restitution beneficiaries are women headed households. We can do better than that if our land redistribution programme targets women. We have the necessary political will, an enabling policy environment that promotes gender equity. We must take advantage of that. We must claim our rightful place in our society and in the global economy. Recently we have signed a trade agreement with the Chinese, which has created economic opportunities for our people. We can now sell our produce to the one point three billion people of China. This is why I stressed the importance of thinking big and dreaming dreams. We must soon see our selves as very important global players in the world economy. Instead of complaining about foreigners taking our jobs we must go out aggressively and take our place in the world economy. This demands that we must work much harder and smarter than we have been doing before. 4 I have been encouraged in the Eastern Cape when I saw uMaDlamini owning many sheep, when I saw women actively involved in goat-farming, when I saw female farmers involved in a dairy that is farming with no less than 50 milking cows. All of these are saying to us: “Women are ready to take over agri- business; they are ready to provide leadership for the desired change.” The Female Farmer of the Year Awards could not have come at an opportune time than when we have the international enabling environment as we have seen the launch of the women’s movement in Bloemfontein last weekend. Let me convey our appreciation to the sponsors of this event, including ABSA, Total SA, Land Bank and OBP. Their support demonstrates that food security is not the responsibility of government alone. Congratulations to all women who have been nominated to participate in these awards this year. You are our valued farmers. Your valuable success has made us proud. Best wishes in all of your efforts. Phambili ngomsebenzi woMama Phambili !! Phambili ngemibutho yoMama Phambili !! Malibongwe !! Igama Lamakhosikazi!! Ngiyabonga END 5
"LAND HAND-OVER CELEBRATION AT BESSIESVLEI FARM TO MARK JUNE LAN"