The Northern Cape is the largest province in South Africa taking up 30% of the country’s space, with a semi desert climate, the province’s economy thrives on agriculture being one of its core incomes.
The Orange River provides irrigation to crops with cotton, wheat, peanuts and maize all produces of the Orange River Valley. Agriculture has the potential to help alleviate the plight of the people in the Northern Cape by providing them with an income through employment in the sector.
Last year, 11 graduates were absorbed by the Department of Agriculture, from the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality (JTG) and placed in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 11 graduates were absorbed by the Dry Fruits Technical Services in the ZF Mgcawu District, 13 from the Pixley ka Seme District and two graduates from Namakwa were absorbed by the Rooibos Tea Plant in Nieuwoudtville. This initiative has run into 2019 with the objective of the initiative including:
– Providing unemployed agricultural, forestry and fisheries graduates with opportunities to gain experience on the job.
– To accelerate food production through development of competent young producers.
– Bridge the gap of ageing producers and reduce unemployment amongst the youth whilst fighting poverty.
– Provide platforms for youth to actively participate in the agricultural, forestry and fishery sector.
– Build future agricultural entrepreneurs.
– Teach a culture of agri-business and scientific approaches to agricultural production.
Communications Officer Phemelelo Manakong from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development emphasised that this type of initiative needs to be adopted by the other departments as well, “The graduates highlighted that if other government departments can follow suit, the battle against unemployed graduates can be overcome”.
The growth of crops is the growth of jobs which improves the economy. As we are well aware, the unemployment rate in the country, not just that of the Northern Cape is severe. ANC secretary general, Ace Magashule expressed that the unemployment rate in South Africa ought to be treated as a national crisis. The premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul, on many public platforms has reiterated that the government needs to work with the private sector to improve the lives of all, in the Northern Cape half of the population is poor. The creation of jobs is a stand in alleviating poverty.
Manakong further explained the difficulties experienced in the agricultural sector, “There are many challenges that we face, such as drought as a province and it is vital that government departments work with farmers to conquer such hindrances”. Besides experiencing difficulties such as drought, the Northern Cape is a fruitful agricultural province, boasting cultivation of sheep and cows. The collaboration of the private sector and the government through sound administration and discipline will be one means of achieving the better, growing and developed province envisioned for the Northern Cape.
As the former premier Sylvia Lucas said, “The Northern Cape is South Africa’s best hidden secret.”