MEC Moholo establishes aquaponic projects for rural communities


Media Houses
Date: Monday, 29 April 2019


POTCHEFSTROOM – An innovative and cost-effective aquaponics food security projects handed over by MEC Desbo Mohono to impoverished families in Matlwang Village near Potchefstroom town last Thursday, 25 April 2019 will contribute in addressing a number of challenges affecting the area and surrounding communities which include improving access to nutritious food, job creation and promoting healthy living habits.

Aquaponics is an innovative, intensive and inexpensive food production technique that brings together aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics in a closed system that dramatically conserves water and space, and yields abundant and marketable fresh produce and fish.

In aquaponics, the water from the fish tanks is used to grow the plants. The plants get their nutrients from the nutrient rich water produced by the fish wastes. Since in the process of deriving their nutrients from the waste water, the plants are actually cleaning the water, the water is thus recycled and reintroduced into the fish tanks.

At least ten (10) complete aquaponic units were handed to 10 families.

The projects are part of on-going efforts by Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development Department to respond to food security challenges affecting North West communities. These include unemployment or low-income households and small-scale farming where limited resources such as land, farming equipment sees communities and emerging farmers locked in cycles of generational poverty and food insecurity.

Keitumetse Tlotleng (42 years), a mother of two aged 03 and 14 years and is one of the beneficiaries from Matlwang village.

She received a complete aquaponic unit with one ton of finger lings (fish), pond, feed, anti-chlorine bottles, solar panel system and spinach seedlings as part of poverty alleviation initiative.

Tlotleng is positive that this initiative by government will go a long way in helping unemployment people like her to make an income.

“I am extremely happy to be part of these initiatives by our government. If we continue to work hard I believe it will really help us and contribute in reducing the level of unemployment,” said Tlotleng

Tlotleng plans to expand her garden in the area around the aquaponic tank, to create a warm, tropical climate conducive to the well-being of the fish.

She works in the project with her partner and has stressed that she wants to do more with what government has given her and her family.

Another beneficiary is Rosinah Dithipe, a single parent with two children. She is the eldest in the family. Rosinah is unemployed and is taking care of her sibling.

Rosinah received 10 goats from government as a food security starter-pack project.

She said she has always had a passion for livestock farming. Rosinah has promised to look after these goats and her dream is to become a successful black female farmer.

The roll out of food security projects investments came after the department relooked at the way in which it structured its programmes to focus on creating food security and turning agriculture into a business.

Led by MEC Mohono, the programme focuses specifically on rural communities, with the aim of promoting sustainable food production to alleviate hunger, poverty and create job opportunities.

When handing over these projects, MEC Desbo Mohono said her department will not rest until the lives of residents of North West are changed for the better.

“These food security interventions will ensure that people gain access to productive resources; where a segment of the target food insecure population is unable to gain access to productive resources, then food security interventions will ensure that segment gains access to income and job opportunities to enhance its power to purchase food.

“The food security interventions will also ensure that the target food insecure population is empowered to have nutritious and safe food; where another segment of the target food insecure population is still unable to access sufficient food because of disability, extreme conditions of destitute – food security interventions will ensure that the state provides relief measures that may be short-term to being medium-term and sustained basis, depending on the nature of given interventions.

“Food security interventions will proceed from an analysis that is grounded on accurate information and the impact of which – in eradicating hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity – is constantly monitored and evaluated,” said MEC Mohono.

Mohono reiterated that there is still more to be done in the province regarding all forms of agriculture. She urged everyone to take part in the sector as it offers great opportunities.

The food security projects roll out will continue to other districts and MEC Mohono has assured residents of North West that her department has a clear a plan to change the face of agriculture in the province.

Other beneficiaries received from the identified two hundred (200) have received indigenous chickens/fouls for Africa, fruit trees, vegetable seedlings, goats and back yard garden infrastructure.

The department has monitoring mechanisms in place to oversee the day-to-day running of this food security projects and to ensure all farmers participate in the province’s and country’s economy. Each project will be allocated an extension officer to offer continuous extension and advisory services to ensure growth and sustainability.


Issued by the Communication Services Directorate Enquiries: Emelda Setlhako

Tel: 018 389 5684
Cell: 060 745 4020

Potchefstroom college of Agriculture graduate adamant of agriculture projects


Att       : ALL EDITORS
Media Houses
Date: Monday, 25 February 2019


Rustenburg – The 22 year old Keabetswe Jiyane, the first class reward recipient and a graduate from the Potchefstroom College of Agriculture (PCA) plans to face the world and explore her passion for agriculture. Jiyane is one of the 49 students who have successfully completed a three year diploma in mixed agriculture during the PCA graduations recently.

Reflecting on her journey, Jiyane said her love for land and farming started early in high school and she never looked back. Although her parents did not understand her passion, they did not stand in her way. “It’s a bit difficult to explain especially for people who really understand that  we have life because there is agriculture. I wanted to discover the mystery behind the significance of soil and what it can produce. I pursued my studies because through the knowledge one discovers that the potential in this industry cannot be compared with any,” Jiyane remarked passionately.

She has been a top performer since starting her studies at PCA and she was the first class in her second year. She said she owned it to herself to beat all odds and work hard. “It was not easy with all the work, but I persevered. I kept the courage and I also wanted other female students to believe that we can also do better than our male counterparts.

Jiyane said she was never intimidated by life after graduations as she was aware of a myriad of opportunities in the agriculture sector. She wants to further be in animal health production to fulfil her love for animals otherwise she sees herself as an entrepreneur in the agricultural sector.

About four students from PCA have shared the reward with Keabetswe Jiyane and passed their third year with First Class.

The 2019 graduations were graced by amongst others, the North West Premier, Professor Job Mokgoro, the Acting MEC for Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ), Dr Mpho Motlhabane, the Executive Mayor of JB Marks Local Municipality, Cllr Kgotso Khumalo, Dr Poncho Mokaila, Head of the Department of READ, Professor Magano of the PCA Advisory committee, Dr Ronald Thomas of the Agriculture Research Council also an alumni of PCA and many sector stakeholder representatives, Department of READ and College Management.

Speaking during the ceremony when delivering the keynote address, Premier Job Mokgoro encouraged the students to work hard to assist the provincial government to achieve in line with the NDP Vision. “We have a huge task at hand as the North West Provincial government through the agricultural colleges. And the mission is to ensure great achievements of the provisions of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030. According to the NDP, the colleges and other higher learning institutions are expected to improve the ratio of graduates from 1 in 17 people to 1 in every 6 people in South Africa,” he emphasised.

He further reiterated that great investment needed to be made in agriculture in line with this sector potential. “Every conversation around agriculture at the moment, asserts that this is a sector which plays a critical role in the economy of many developing countries. In South Africa, as in many of these developing countries, the contribution that agriculture does to efforts of employment is well documented. It is said that in our country, about 6 million peoples’ livelihood is contingent on agriculture. This is about 10% of the South African population. So the contribution of this sector to key government priorities such as food security, exports, Growth Development Plan and foreign exchange is detectible.

Premier congratulated the leaners and assured them of opportunities within the sector. “We remain adamant that the agricultural sector carries dynamic opportunities which present an upper hand to any young person who is passionate about it. The evolution of technology has made it even far stimulating to be part of this sector,” he said.

Dr Ronald Thomas, Alumni of the PCA now part of the ARC commended graduates and urged them continue learning. He further advised them to be prepared for challenges ahead and not to quit when the going gets tougher. Thomas emphasised that the land debate was a perfect state for young people to help and develop the agricultural industry. “Ä journey of thousand miles starts with a single step”, he said.

The college is one of two state owned colleges in the province tasked with training young  people with passion for agriculture. Since its establishment, the institution continues to thrive in the training sphere and continues to live up to its vision of being a leading centre of excellence in training. The college has for the 2019 academic year registered 79 first year students this reflecting a growing trajectory as compared to the previous years. The Department of READ has for the year 2018/19 budgeted R46m to support both the Taung and Potchefstroom Agricultural Colleges.

  ## ends ##
Issued by the Communication Services Directorate Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Tel: 018 389 5684
Cell: 060 745 4020

Deputy minister and MEC honor top performers

MEDIA STATEMENT Wednesday, 21 November 2018


The Deputy Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Mr Sfiso Buthelezi and the MEC of the Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ), Ms Manketsi Tlhape honoured the top achievers during the 2nd National Extension and Advisory Services Awards (NEASA) in Mahikeng, North West Province on 20 November 2018.
The NEASA awards play a crucial role in promoting productivity, increasing food security, improving rural livelihoods and promoting agriculture as an engine of pro-poor economic growth. Furthermore, the awards promote and create awareness about the imperative role Extension and Advisory Services (EAS) play in the entire agricultural, forestry and fisheries’ development. The intention of the awards is to honour the efforts and contribution made in the EAS and the important role the Extension Officers continue to play within the sector. The winners received prize money, awards and certificates.
DAFF awarded winners in the following categories:
• Top performer in the category of Agricultural Advisors is Rendani Murovhi from Limpopo
• Top performer in the category of Senior Agricultural Advisors is Sizwe Mthethwa from KwaZulu-Natal
• Top performer in the category of Specialist Agricultural Advisors is Shumane Richard Tsogo from North West
• Top performer in the category of Supervisor is Nkotsana Ruben Maakamedi from Limpopo
• Top performer in the category of Support Services is Johan Mackson Sambo from Mpumalanga
The overall winner is Sizwe Mthethwa from KwaZulu-Natal
MEC Tlhape urged the foot soldiers to continue serving the farming communities with diligence and acknowledged the hard work the Extension and Advisory Officers are doing to help those in need of their services to increase agricultural production.
“We see the hard work and dedication you are putting on your daily work. With these awards we are saying thank you and continue serving our farming communities with great diligence,” MEC Tlhape said.
In his congratulatory message, the Deputy Minister of DAFF, Mr Buthelezi said extension services as a rural support service is at the centre of all government entities.
“EAS has been realised to have the potential in playing critical roles in improving the livelihoods and well-being of rural and urban people worldwide. The service would also enable rural people to maximise their contributions to sustainable national, regional and global development. The awards we are having tonight are a testimony of a professional service. In setting high standards to improve performance and service delivery, the professionalisation of EAS was promoted,” he said.
He thanked all the sponsors for their contribution.

For further information, please contact:
Khaye Nkwanyana
Ministry Spokesperson
083 952 9723

Extension services reach out to schools

For immediate release
Wednesday, 14 November 2018


MAHIKENG-Number of schools in and around the Mahikeng Local Municipality have benefited a great deal from a two week long campaign by Extension Officers from North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development aimed at increasing awareness amongst school learners on issues of food security programme.

This campaign which is aimed at encouraging learners to plant their own vegetables garden, is part of a build up to a major provincial agricultural show dubbed Bokone Bophirima Agricultural Growth and Investment Show (BBAGIS) set to take place in Kgora Farmers Training Centre situated in Ramatlabama village from next Tuesday, the 20th -23rd November 2018.

Phera Primary, Rankudu primary, Omega Primary, Magokgwane Primary and Melorane Primary School are some of the schools which have been benefited from this campaign.

Other than agri-education, these schools received seedlings, fertilizers and garden tools such as tunnels from the department.

The awareness has been a success and learners were very pleased to know about opportunities found within the agricultural sector and they were also taught about the importance of food security and nutrition.

Bokamoso Majwe (11) a grade 6 pupil from Rankudu Primary School in Ikopeleng village was very delighted of the initiative the department took. “I am very happy to have learned about the importance of planting and how diverse agriculture is, we as a growing generation should plant for our families so that they can eat healthy food,’’ said Bokamoso.

Another grade 6 learner Molemo Molebalwa from Phera Primary in Tsetse village said she has learn a lot from these campaign by Agricultural Officers “ I have learned that it’s very essential to keep our gardens in good conditions to get good and healthy vegetables,” said Molebalwa.

The campaign was not only restricted to schools.

Seventy (70) households around Ramatlabama, ten (10) in Moshawane , five (5) in Tsetse, five (5) in Miga, thirty (30) in Makgokgwane and twenty (20) in Ikopeleng village have also benefited. These identified households received seedlings of green-pepper, beetroots, onions, spinach and cabbages to plant in their own gardens.

Mr Tshepo Rantlhana (39) beneficiary from Ikopeleng village said he is very grateful that the seeds he will plant will generate an extra income for his household.

“This came at the right time. Many thanks to Department of Rural Environment and Agricultural Development,” Rantlhana said.

According to Rakhase Monametsi an Extension Officer based in Ngaka Modiri Molema District,
this campaign is just a sneak peek of what people should expect at Kgora Farmers Training Centre next week during the Agricultural show.

The build-up has begun! Acclaimed Rakhase Monametsi.

“These campaigns are very close to my heart. The positive feedbacks we are getting from beneficiaries are what keep us going”.

Monametsi said this is the usual educational campaigns by Extension Officers and she said the campaign will even continue after BBAGIS.

MEC Manketsi Tlhape has said food security is very important.

“Food security is not a departmental issue hence we are targeting schools and households with the aim of getting them to start planting their own vegetable gardens.

“In actual fact, everyone should get involved in this food security programme,” says MEC Tlhape.

The aim of the program by Extension Officers is to support rural schools, villages and deprived families with farming education and also a way in which households can generate income and provide for themselves.

## ends ##
Issued by the Communication Services Directorate
Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Tel: 018 389 5684 / 5719
Cell: 060 745 4020

Over R46 Million rand for food production

For immediate release
30 October 2018


North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development has set aside over forty-six million rand (R46m) to support eight-hundred and twelve (812) smallholder farmers of the province with crop production inputs and to cultivate 14000ha to be planted during the 2018/19 planting season. This was announced by MEC Manketsi Tlhape last Thursday, 25 October 2018 in Welverdiend farm outside Delareyville town when she was launching the provincial planting season.

The launch of planting season is a clarion call by the department to all residents to gird up their loins and engage in food production activities of all forms. The main objective of the planting season launch was to create awareness on the importance of food security through agricultural production and to encourage all stakeholders to join hands in eradicating hunger and reducing poverty.

This is done through departmental crop massification programme; an intervention by government to support both smallholder and identified black commercial farmers to put back arable land into production. Speaking during the launch, MEC Tlhape said, in the last cropping season of 2017/18, a target of 13000ha was exceeded by 1628ha, to attain overall 14628ha. This was done despite late rains and early frost encountered in the province. North West farmers were able to produce an excess of 19016 tons of which 11409.84 tons was sunflower, 6655, 74 tons was maize, 190 tons of groundnuts and 760, 64 tons of dry beans. Tlhape said this was a great achievement and has assured Bokone Bophirima residents that her department will continue to support all dedicated farmers within the borders of Bokone Bophirima to continue producing more food. Currently, North West Province is the number one producer of sunflower in the whole country.

For years, the department has been supporting farmers in a variety of ways to produce more food i.e. through provision of crop production inputs, technical advice, holding of information and farmers’ days, access to storage facilities, provision of marketing information as well as mechanisation packages within available resources and mandate. MEC Tlhape reiterated that 50% of the budget in this financial year has been channelled to benefit women, youth and people living with disabilities in the agricultural sector. “We need to do more to ensure that we give support to these groups in order for them to participate into mainstream agriculture as formidable players to advance the future of the sector by tilting the statistics as they remain,” emphasised MEC Tlhape.

Tlhape is adamant that the measures pronounced by the state President Cyril Ramaphosa will soon bear fruit and more farmers will benefit via the stimulus package, blended funding and other measures as announced during the recent job submit. Farmers applauded the department for informative presentations they received from various organizations such as Grain South Africa, Omnia, Noord Wes Koporasie, Laeveld Agrochemicals, Agriculture Research Council, and The Grain Farmer Development Association on the day of the launch. Amongst others; presenters shared the much needed planting tips which included safe use and handling of agro chemicals, information on the importance of crop and cultivar choice, requirements for planting and plant nutrition to mention but just a few.

One of the farmers; Solomzi Booysen, a farmer in Welverdiend welcomed department’s support in particular to smallholder farmers of the region.
“Government’s support is welcomed. We really appreciate it and ours is just to make sure that we produce,” said jubilant Booysen

For 2018/19 financial year, READ Department has earmarked (50) farmers for black commercialization programme. Tlhape wished all crop farmers across the province a productive and profitable cropping season and she said that she is hoping that the Almighty will show mercy and bless this season with lots and lots of rain. The event was used to encourage communities to engage in agricultural activities in general and planting of fallow lands in particular which will ultimately contribute to the Fetsa Tlala Food Production Initiative, a government programme used as an intervention for the Food and Nutrition Security Policy.

Issued by the Communication Services Directorate
Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Tel: 018 389 5684
Cell: 060 745 4020

Madibeng maiden horticulture show successful

For immediate release
17 September 2018

Madibeng- Farmers in Brits, the country’s largest onion exporter together with others from and across the platinum rich district municipality of Bojanala held a successful maiden horticulture expo last Friday, 14 September 2018 under the theme, “Horticulture growth through exposure.”
Led by the North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ) in partnership with the Madibeng Local Municipality, the expo attracted hundreds of horticulturalists who came to showcase variety of their produce which includes flowers, vegetables, fruits, ornamental trees, herbs and other related produce.
Horticulturists work directly with plants, overseeing all aspects of breeding, selection, planting, care, and production. This is a segment of the agriculture industry which includes the production and use of plants for food and beautification.
The expo was another effort by the government to create a much needed platform by farmers in the said district to market their produce but also an opportunity for the entire province to showcase what the horticulture sector in the region of Madibeng has to offer.
Mmabatho Moanakoena, owner of Mosaditshwene Project from Moses Kotane area is one of many exhibitors who participated during this expo. In this project, they specialise with indigenous herbs and trees. She said she was happy to be amongst the first people in Bojanala to participate in the district’s maiden horticulture expo.
“I am over the moon,” said Moanakoena last Friday. “We appreciate the effort by our provincial Department of READ with the local municipality of Madibeng. We have been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time and we are glad today that it has finally arrived,” elated Moanakoena said.
Asked if people who came to the expo have supported her by buying her produce on the day, she quipped “a lot”!
The same sentiments were shared by exhibitors from Moruleng outside Rustenburg town. Esther Lechina of Thuso Ya Batho Moringa Project was also happy for the platform given to them by government. “People have been coming and visiting our stall the whole day and they did buy our products,” Lechina said.
They offered healthy products on the day and also taught people about the importance of eating healthy and protecting indigenous trees like Moringa.
Addressing the horticulturists, exhibitors and people who came to support the expo, the Chief Director for Farmer Support and Development from READ Department Mr Thebe Mothusi who was speaking on behalf of MEC Manketsi Tlhape said the expo would be an annual event to give farmers much needed exposure for their produce.
Mothusi went on to challenge horticulturists and farmers to ensure that they bring new entrepreneurs into the horticulture sector to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty, and inequality.
“The Bojanala District, particularly Madibeng Local Municipality is tipped as comparative advantaged on horticulture production. With the infrastructure, rainfall pattern and the location of Madibeng Local Municipality, there is a huge opportunity to produce vegetables, citrus and ornamentals of high quality and quantity required by quality conscious buyers. We therefore like to encourage farmers to use this to their advantage,” said Thebe Mothusi.
He pledged financial support to those schools who attended the expo. “To encourage learners to take up agriculture as a career of choice, we are going to make sure that we buy schools present here today agricultural equipment and tools for their learners,” pledged Mothusi.
He further encouraged those farmers who are yet to register with the departmental farmer data base to do so.
Lot Mashiane of Mothutlung High School welcomed the gesture by the department to assist their school with much needed tools especially for their agriculture subject.
Madibeng Horticulture Expo will be hosted annually to give local farmers, industry people and other stakeholders a platform to showcase their produce, network and share knowledge amongst them as well as to expand and diversify their farming activities.

IMG 9939 : Chief Director for Farmer Support and Development Mr thebe Mothusi addressing horticulturists, exhibitors and people who came to support the first Madibeng Horticulture Expo held in Brits last Friday.

IMG 9950: Dignitaries from North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development and Madibeng Local Municipality cutting the ribbon to mark the launch of Madibeng Horticulture Expo.
IMG 9724 : Mmabatho Moanakoena owner and founder of Mosaditshwene Project from Moses Kotane Local Municipality was happy to be part of Madibeng’s maiden horticulture Expo.


Issued by the Communication Services Directorate
Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Tel: 018 389 5684
Cell: 060 745 4020

Department’s commitment to support farmers

For immediate release
20 August 2018
MEC for Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development in the North West Province Ms. Manketsi Tlhape has encouraged female farmers to take a lead in the sustainable development agenda and to take full advantage of programmes offered by government and its entities aimed at empowering them.

Tlhape has also reassured female farmers of her department’s commitment to continuing supporting their agricultural businesses.

She said these last Thursday, 16 August 2018, during the 19th annual DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards (FEA) ceremony held in Rustenburg town.

FEA programme is a joint venture between the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, the provinces and key partners in the sector aimed at honouring female farmers, recognising their role in the sector and their entrepreneurial skills in the mainstream agriculture, forestry and fisheries.The major thrust of the programme is to underline the fact that women play a significant role in food security, job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.

This year’s competition saw hundreds of female farmers entering and competing in various categories including that of best female worker, best subsistence producer, top entrepreneur smallholder, top entrepreneur commercial and top entrepreneur export markets category.

The award for Best Female Worker went to Kedibone Elisa Itumeleng who works as a product packager at Bloemheuwel Boerdery Trust in Christiana. The farm specialises with vegetables production. Daily duties for this dedicated farm worker include packing of products for market, harvesting, grading products and record keeping.

The award for Best Subsistence Producer was won by Sis Ratos Business Trading from Ngaka Modiri Molema District. Sis Ratos Business trading is a mix farming enterprise. The farm produces sunflower, groundnuts, and maize. They also have livestock and they produce vegetables.

Top Entrepreneur Small Holder Award went to Healthy Life for Achievers Enterprise from Bojanala Platinum District Municipality. The enterprise specializes with production and supply of oranges.

Top Entrepreneur Commercial Award went to Thandolwabo Services (PTY) LTD from Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality. The enterprise specialises with cattle farming.

MEC’s special award was awarded to LMC Farms from Bojanala Platinum District Municipality. The farm specializes with sunflower production.

The main winner of the night was Lefakong Farming. The enterprise scooped an award for Top Entrepreneur Processing as well as the Overall Winner category for the 2018 provincial DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards.

Lefakong Farming specialises with Moringa. The cooperative is located in Moretele in Bojanala Platinum District Municipality.

The enterprise has a great passion for health and wellness and has invested in the quality assurance and true organic nature of Moringa which can be processed into tea, powder and many other forms of natural health foods.

The enterprise was established in 2015 as a family cooperative and they have been receiving extension and advisory services from the North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development and the national Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry.

The Founder and Director of Lefakong Farming Cooperative Ms. Maboang Matlou said she was happy to win both the awards.

“I am glad that I have won,” she said.

Elated Matlou further revealed that her cooperative uses 100% organic methods to produce moringa crop, harvest and agro-process the crop on-site at their farm in Bosplaas.

“We currently supply large companies for export purposes and health nutritional stores in and around the province. Our long term goal focuses mainly on ways to value-add our product for introduction into sectors of businesses,” she said

Next year, the DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards will be celebrating twenty (20) years of existence.

MEC Tlhape said if women participate in economic activity, own and control productive assets; it leads to development by helping to overcome poverty, reducing inequality and improving children’s nutrition, health, and school attendance.

“If women and men have the equal access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets, the consequent 20-30 per cent increase in agricultural production on women’s farms could lead to 100-150 million less hungry people,” Tlhape said .

The objectives of the FEA programme are consistent with the vision of the National Development Plan, which makes particular reference to the empowerment of women and their involvement in the country’s economic transformation.

The programme has been identified by the national government as a tool that will encourage female and new entrants, young and old, those with disabilities, small and medium enterprises to enter the agricultural sector.

The process for nominations and entries for provincial 2018 DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards kicked-off early in May this year and the closing date for entries was 15 July 2018.

MEC Tlhape encouraged emerging farmers and those struggling with finances are encouraged to visit the North West Agricultural Fund (NWAF) office which is mandated to provide funding to those aspiring farmers in respect of agricultural development with a particular emphasis on previously disadvantaged individuals who cannot access funding from the commercial banks.

## ends ##
Issued by the Communication Services Directorate
Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Tel: 018 389 5684
Cell: 060 745 4020

Marico Listed as UNESCO biosphere reserve

For immediate release
26 July 2018


Mahikeng-The official announcement of listing of Marico as a Biosphere through the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation was made at the 30th International Coordinating Council (ICC) sessions of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme sitting at Indonesia yesterday. The delegation led by the Head Of Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ), Dr Poncho Mokaila accepted the International accolade on behalf of South Africa.

This announcement took place as part of the six days sitting of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisations’ MAB programme to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments. MAB combines the natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and the equitable sharing of benefits, and to safeguard natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate, and environmentally sustainable.

The North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ) has been on an intensive process application to ensure the listing. Speaking during the acceptance session Dr Poncho Mokaila said the road to secure the honour was not easy. “The public engagement process, the development of the management plan and the compilation of the biosphere nomination dossier for the listing of the unique freshwater system was commissioned three years ago but we had to use the lessons learnt from Magaliesberg Biosphere nomination application to our advantage and to ensure that we get our facts right away,” Dr Mokaila highlighted.

MEC Manketsi Tlhape has equally expressed her delight at the honour and said the current administration has made strides in rebranding and repositioning the province. “This clearly reflects a society that has interpreted the vision of the administration so well and has lived up to the expectation of the communities,” she said. “The onus is now upon the Marico management body to ensure that the Biosphere will reach its goal of maximising conservation of the natural environment, sustainable development, advancement of research programmes and social upliftment,” she emphasised.

The Marico River is considered to be the only inland free-flowing river in South Africa which is still in a natural condition. The Marico region has also been identified as an important water recharge area, supplying clean water to surrounding communities and neighbouring countries, namely Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The Marico biosphere therefore is a good example to showcase sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

The biosphere reserve has a remarkable aquifer which is visible through the clear, unpolluted mountain streams emanating from the area. A large majority of dolomitic ‘eyes’ are located within the biosphere area. These culminate in the formation of the Groot Marico River, which at its source can be described as the southern-most distributary of the Limpopo River, located on an international border. Marico is an area of scenic beauty, unique natural features, rich natural and cultural heritage value and significant biodiversity of interest. This justified the need for its protection and sustainable utilization, which led to the listing with the Man and Biosphere Programme.

MEC Tlhape has applauded all stakeholders who supported the listing process including landowners and communities and expressed her gratitude to their dedication. She further indicated that initiatives within the Biosphere Reserve will be driven by the local community and through a public participatory approach, using an integrated management plan.

## ends ##
Issued by the Communication Services Directorate
Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Tel: 018 389 5684
Cell: 060 745 4020

Farmers Hail Department’s crop Massification

For immediate release
23 JULY 2018

Famers from all four districts of the province who came in numbers to mark harvest season last Friday, 20 July 2018 in Waterford Farm near Mareetsane Village have commended the department’s crop massification programme which is aimed at assisting struggling farmers with inputs to plough arable land back into production.

The programme supports famers in various ways such as technical advice, crop production resources, marketing and provision of mechanisation.

Agriculture in the province is the most important economic activity and the provincial government has over the years given it a priority to improve food security, grow the economy and create jobs.

Although harvesting is still on-going in some parts of the province, many farmers who benefitted through the crop massification programme are reporting satisfactory yields and have praised the Department of Rural Environment and Agricultural Development for its initiatives to help disadvantaged communities to create sustainable business within the agricultural industry.
One of those farmers who has benefited from the programme is Obakeng Ezekiel Melke from Mofufutso 02 near Khunwana Village which falls under Ratlou Local Municipality.
Melke thanked the department for helping him to grow his crop farming business.
“I want to sincerely thank our government for extending helping hand to us poor communities. Today my business is growing and is all thanks to government in particular the department of agriculture in the North West Province,” Melke said.
Same sentiments were shared by Rathoto Bethuel Legoete who is also a crop farmer from Ngaka Modiri Molema in Mooifontein area. In his farm, Rathotho plant maize and sunflower. He has also benefitted from the Crop Massification Programme by the Department.
He is one of the farmers who received assistance from government after assessment in 2013. He was among group of farmers who received tractors, fertilisers and other farming equipment from government to grow their businesses.

“I want to thank everyone who is involved in this programme by government to assist us as emerging farmers in Ngaka Modiri Molema. It is through this programme by government that we were identified and assisted. We received tractors, litres of diesel, fertilisers all sponsored by government and for that I want say thank you.

Delivering a word of thanks on behalf of the farmers, Professor Wilfred Legotlo said they are happy to be witnesses to government fulfilling its promises. He said the crop massification programme by the department is a good initiative and creates a platform for them as famers to be somehow competitive.
Although there are some challenges, Professor Legotlo said they appreciate department’s response in helping farmers.
“MEC Tlhape your department has responded promptly to our challenges as farmers and we are very happy that we did not despair and that you found us active today,” said Professor Legotlo.
Speaking at the Waterford farm, MEC Manketsi Tlhape said harvest season celebration event is a thanksgiving as many farmers who benefitted through the crop massification programme received good yields.
Tlhape also said her department is solemn about fighting the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“The crop massification programme is meant to increase crop production in the province and ultimately deal with the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

MEC emphasised that farmers should use land available to them fully for production.
“Emerging farmers are crucial role players in local economic development and poverty eradication. We want to see them employing and training young people in farming as a liberating and viable option of economic development,” said MEC Manketsi Tlhape.
Crop Massification Programme in the province is targeting emerging farmers who are plying their trade under difficult circumstances due to a lack of resources.
Currently, smallholder and commercial farmers in Bokone Bophirima Province who received assistance in the form of crop production inputs in 2017/18 financial year are busy harvesting maize, sunflower, groundnuts and beans in a total of 16 132 hectares.
For 2018/19 year, the Department aims to plant over 14 000ha, a support that is envisaged to benefit 474 farmers across the Province. A total Budget of R50,5m has been set aside for this assistance.


Issued by the Communication Services Directorate
Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Tel: 018 389 5684
Cell: 060 745 4020

Outstanding Young Farmers Announced

For immediate release
02 JULY 2018

North West Province’s Outstanding Young Farmers announced

Mahikeng-North West Province through Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development Department has acknowledged the contribution and hard work the young farmers have been putting in order to place the agricultural sector of the province at the apex of local economy.
These outstanding young farmers were honoured and announced in a spectacle ceremony, held by the department last Thursday, 28 June 2018 in Zeerust Town, after a vigorous vetting process by a team of knowledgeable and well experienced independent adjudicators.
Youth in Agriculture Awards (YAA) is an annual event by the department to recognise aspiring young farmers in the province and the excellent work that they do.
The initiative is in line with government’s rural development plan which sought to promote agriculture and advocate for youth enterprise development to enable young people to have access to employment and self-employment in commercial agriculture.
Entrants were competing in the following categories; Best Youth Enterprise Award, Best Youth Entrepreneur Award, Best Innovative Enterprise Award, Best Researched Journal Award, Best Youth based Cooperative Award, best Youth Commercial Farmer Award, Best Agro-Processing Enterprise Award and the Overall Achiever category.

Chickens for Africa from Bojanala District scooped an award for Best Run Youth Enterprise and walked away with total prize money of R70, 000. The award for best emerging youth enterprise went to Lekuru Farming of Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District and they walked away with a whooping R70, 000 prize money. The Best Youth Cooperative and enterprise award went to Optimum Harvest Cooperative from Bojanala District while the Best Researched Journal award was won by Bontle Mokone (26), a Masters student in Animal Science from North West University, Mahikeng Campus.
The main winner of the day was Thabang Mokwele (31) of Thaba-Kwena Projects PTY (LTD) .
Thabang, who won this year’s award for Best Youth Commercial Enterprise and overall winner for the 2018 Young Farmer of the year, is the farm manager of Thaba-Kwena Projects PTY (LTD)
Based in Lichtenburg town, his farm specialises with broiler production. The farm was started back in 2014 but was only registered in 2016.

To date the farm has ten (10) broiler houses with capacity of 15000 birds each producing at least 150 000 birds per cycle.

Through this establishment and the support he has been getting from government, Thabang Mokwele has managed to employ twenty eight (28) employees in his farm. Out of the twenty eight (28) he has employed, eight (08) are permanent employees while the other twenty (20) are casual workers.

The farm has in the past received a financial support of nearly R1 million from the North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development. With it the department has supported the project with payment of electricity and purchasing of feed. Over and above the farmer has been receiving monitoring and extension services from the provincial department of READ.

After announcements of the winners, Thabang said he has been entering the competition for the past three years and he is glad that he finally won in his third year. “I want to sincerely thank the Department of READ and all the people who supported me to start my business. I am where I am today because of them, and for that I want to say thank you,” said Mokwele
For those who are wishing to have their own farming businesses, the 2018 provincial farmer of the year Thabang had these words of encouragement for them “nothing is impossible”.
The Youth in Agriculture Awards is part of department’s bigger programme of highlighting the significance of agriculture and the role of young people plays in the sector
Speaking at the awards ceremony, MEC Manketsi Tlhape said the Youth in Agriculture initiative serves as a motivational gesture to the youth to accept and appreciate farming/food production as a commercial venture, thereby taking up farming as a life-time vocation.
”The youth in agriculture initiative also serve as a succession strategy which will ensure young people become farmers and succeed their old counterparts and farmer parents who are dominant in the agricultural industry,” Tlhape said.
Tlhape went further to explain that the awards ceremony seeks to acknowledge, encourage and increase participation of young people in the agricultural sector, highlight the significant role played by young people in food security and the fight against the triple challenges of job creation, economic growth and poverty and to empower young people and support their involvement in the province’s economic transformation.
The runner-ups will be placed under departmental after-care programme for mentorship.


Issued by the Communication Services Directorate
Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Tel: 018 389 5684
Cell: 060 745 4020