Sannieshof: The North West Provincial Government’s efforts to provide support necessary for the development of its villages, townships and small dorpies’ economies continue to gain momentum, with the latest being the launch of a community seedbank, the first in the province.
Launched yesterday, 10 March, by Premier Supra Mahumapelo as part of the Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development’s Food Security Outreach Programme in Agisanang location, Sannieshof, the seedbank is set to encourage communities to safely store their seeds and guard against the ultimate disappearance of local plant varieties. Critical to this initiative will be its link to the now refurbished Springbokpan Silos which local farmers are using for storage of their produce.
MEC Manketsi Tlhape who joined Premier Mahumapelo for this agricultural outreach programme, told the local masses who attended the activity that while many farmers save their own seed individually, the impact on seed security and seed diversity would not be of significance unless there is seed exchange among community members.
Premier Mahumapelo who was also accompanied by Kgosi Nyoko Motlhabane of Batlhaping-ba-ga-Maidi, planted the first seeds as part of establishing vegetable gardens at a local church, clinic, primary school, and identified destitute households.
The department has purchased 67 tunnels which have been constructed in all identified sites, for vegetable production.
One of the beneficiaries, Tshiamo Kolobe, 21, who is staying with her siblings and children, said the establishment of a vegetable garden for their family and provision of garden tools signifies the Provincial Government’s solid intent to help child-headed families like hers.
“We are happy about this food security initiative. We commit to ensure that this vegetable garden feeds us, and hope than we will produce enough for the family and sell the surplus to our neighbours”, said Tshiamo who expressed her excitement about the seedbank initiative which she said will contribute towards its realisation.
Impressed by the Department’s food security initiatives which are being implemented in the context of the Province’s villages, townships and small dorpies development plan, Premier Mahumapelo urged the community to support these initiatives, saying the establishment of community seedbanks was relevant in achieving collective self-reliance in crop production, this in the face of mounting challenge posed by natural disasters triggered by climate change.
“Over and above placing agriculture at the apex of our economic growth strategy, we remain positive that local people will continue to make meaningful contributions towards healthy lifestyles by producing quality food and preserving what is available for the future, thus assisting in the fight against hunger and joblessness”, Premier Mahumapelo said.
According to the Department of READ, community seedbanks will be established in various villages, townships and small dorpies across the Province, this as part of the broader Farmer Support and Development programme.
Other services which the Department provided during the day as part of its outreach programme included amongst others, animal health services and fishery production demonstrations.