KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka officially launched the Harry Gwala District Multi Planting Season Programme at eZidweni, in Ward 4 at the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma local municipality this morning.

Through this district-wide programme, the Provincial Government has invested R12- million to assist residents with farming. This support will include the provision of tractors  to promote crop production as a catalyst for economic development, job creation and poverty alleviation in the communal land within the district.

Under this programme, 1500 hectares of land will be farmed across the local municipalities of Greater Kokstad, NDZ and uMzimkhulu. Cooperatives that specialise in farming will also benefit through this programme as 600 people are to be employed through them to farm.

Speaking to residents at the eZidweni sports grounds, MEC Hlomuka urged residents to till the soil as a means of not only surviving but to broaden their prospects since farming continues to provide several opportunities.

“We are here today to say to you that as a government we will support you in farming the vast hectares of land that this district is blessed with. Farming presents many opportunities and the government has programmes that provide easy access to markets for farmers,” said Hlomuka.

The farmers’ produce will be distributed to supermarkets, schools, hospitals and prisons within this district.

The KZN Provincial House of Traditional Leaders Chairperson Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, who is also the Harry Gwala Local House Chair, thanked the Provincial Government for its commitment to empowering and encouraging communities to farm. “We have started to see the impact of this push by government to get our communities back to farming,” said Chiliza.