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A nation that does not invest in its youth is doomed – which is why the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has committed itself to ensuring that the young leaders of tomorrow are organised in order to receive government’s support and seize every opportunity that comes their way. North West MEC for Agriculture, Desbo Mohono, made this commitment during the launch of the Provincial Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development (YARD) structure at the Potchefstroom Agricultural College.
Mohono said she is confident that North West can become a food secure and economically stable province through this structure, which consists of aspiring young people involved in agriculture and rural development programmes.
The YARD objective
Mohono said the structure is not a new initiative as it was established nationally in 2007, but along the way the process derailed in terms of organised youth in North West. The department worked hard over the last nine months to get the structure back on track to serve its purpose.
YARD’s main objective is to promote and improve the active participation of youth in the agricultural sector. It also aims to create a broader understanding of industry and respond to the youth’s needs by implementing appropriate programmes, policies and services. Another objective is to promote and develop skills at all levels and establish economic equality.
Dedicated young farmers
The district as well as the provincial executive committees were also introduced during the unveiling of the new structure. The four district committees that comprise of mostly young farmers, will be active in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mopati, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Bojanala and Ngaka Modire Molema districts of the North West.
Mohono said the ball is now in the youth’s court to get involved and tackle unemployment head-on while government in the province will support them. She said the department has already set aside resources to train 28 members of the YARD executive committee on leadership and governance this year.
“We will also make sure that we sign an agreement regarding certain aspects that will grow this partnership. I also want to launch 4 000 jobs by the first week of August this year. Young people will receive contracts to work in the sector as there is a lot of unemployed youth with much needed experience and skills.”
In return, the chairperson of the provincial executive committee, Ipeleng Kwadi, who is a dynamic female Bonsmara cattle farmer from Brits in the Bojanala District, said they are ready for the important task that awaits them. The YARD leadership will support their fellow youth in the province to reach new heights.
Major financial institutions, agricultural businesses and other stakeholders also participated in the unveiling of the structure through exhibition stands and encouraging presentations on modern sustainable farming and financial management practices, market access, and funding opportunities.
For more information visit the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s website at www.dard.nwpg.gov.za. – Christal-Lize Muller, Plaas Media