The Free State Government has been called to maximize support to the provincial agriculture sector in providing safety and security as well as financially.
Globally the day is in remembrance of founding the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945 as an organisation that deals with global food and agricultural issues.
South Africa’s recent statistics report indicates that the agriculture sector had an impressive growth of 15%, which made it the only positive contributor with a 0.3 of a percentage point under the global Covid-19 distress. The report showed that FS agriculture sector remains a top contributor to food security, second to the Western Cape in South Africa. The report indicated that the FS agriculture sector lost the least number of workers, 3000 from 60 000 to 57 000 because of the Coronavirus.
Dr Roy Jankielsohn, Free State Legislature leader, pointed out that the province’s positive strides warrant for support by the FS government.
Investment by the government through drought and disaster relief when it is needed would be a good start and could save many farming businesses and jobs.
The provincial government should be supporting agriculture that continues to be the most reliable source of economic growth and with the most potential for increased job creation in the province.
“Our commercial farmers and their employees continue to be reliable sources of food security in the country, in spite of huge security threats and negative political rhetoric,” he said.
Jankielsohn said the FS agriculture sector has the capacity, based on the Statistics SA Commercial Agriculture Census Report of 2017, that indicated that the FS has the highest number if commercial farms in the country at 7951 followed by the Western Cape with 6937.
These farms continue to sustain our rural communities by providing valuable income and jobs.
The report also indicated that the FS was the second highest agricultural income generating province at R36 billion per annum after the Western Cape at R64,4 billion per annum.
The Thabo Mofutsanyane District is the third biggest agricultural income generating district in the country, while the Lejweleputswa District was SA’s producer of maize, potatoes and sweet potatoes.