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Growing jobs through agriculture
Creating jobs for young people and bringing services close to producers is one of the biggest challenges facing the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

However, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said his Budget Vote Speech in the National Assembly tomorrow will give the nation a clear plan on what direction the department is going to take to achieve its goals, which include creating jobs for women and the youth.

“Our biggest challenge at this point is how to bring the services of the department closer to producers and how to create employment, with a specific focus on youth.

“Tomorrow's budget vote speech will give the nation a plan on what direction we are going to take to achieve some of these goals,” he said.

The minister was speaking during his first quarterly meetings with eight MECs and heads of department responsible for agriculture and food security in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The gathering, which is also being attended by Zokwana’s deputy Bheki Cele, will discuss what the sector should do to create a million jobs by 2030, as articulated by President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address.

Minister Zokwana and the MECs will also discuss how programmes aimed at developing smallholder farmers will be supported to enhance production in the next five years.

The MECs will have an opportunity to inform their counterparts on the status of agricultural initiatives in their respective provinces and how they plan to grow employment and create markets for producers.

The meeting will also look at the role of youth and women and programmes that will be aimed attracting those who are not involved in the sector as a mechanism to tackle unemployment.

"We need to address the gender balance in agriculture and find ways in which to attract more young people to participate in the sector.

“In dealing with food security, we need to understand where provinces are in terms of the Fetsa Tlala food production initiative, mechanisation and many other issues,” said Minister Zokwana. –

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