POLOKWANE – Makamu said the Packhouse initiative was started in 2014, after South Africa hosted World Food Day. Feasibility studies at the time pointed out that the intervention of a packhouse is necessary for the crops of Nwanedi farmers, in order to be marketed in different areas.
“It is commendable that many local farmers excel in farming. It is for that reason that government will assist our farming community,” he said.
The MEC said it was their aim to assist in establishing sound management and marketing channels for farmers’ products to local and international markets. Central to this management, is the training of community members to become farm managers, packhouse managers, supervisors and specialist general workers,” said the MEC.
He added there was a view that agriculture as an industry is meant for the aged and experienced, and not for the youth.
“Agriculture can be a profitable business, and we are trying to lure the youth into this industry. This is our succession plan, because seniors pass on and we might be left with no food producers. We are planning in time for the future,” he added.
Makamu urged female farmers to work hard and promised to bring a good life to the community by helping them to sell their products in different countries.
He said they look at the new name with pride and dignity as it symbolises what the enterprise is all about: being a catalyst and a partner in economic development and empowerment in the province.
Makamu said the event also marked the unveiling of a new business plan that charts the way forward for the organisation.
He said the enterprise was identified by the Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) of the province as one of the pillars of economic development and empowerment.
“The objective is to turn our province into the main gross domestic product contributor to the economy of the country. In that vision, the enterprise plays a role by providing an engine for the economic wheel to turn,” he said.
In terms of the mandate from the shareholders, the enterprise should deliver jobs and at the same time become self-reliant, he said.
“Its objectives will be development impact, financial and customer service, internal processes, learning and growth.”
These objectives rest on a formidable value system, which comprises service excellence, integrity, commitment, innovation and transparency. The plan goes on to identify the market in which the enterprise should operate as being small, medium or large industries in terms of partnering. He commended local farmers for managing the farm in a successful way, adding that government would give the necessary support to farmers.
“I am impressed and happy about the role played by local farmers in the agricultural sector in our province,” he said.
Micheal Makoale, of Nwanedi Secondary Cooperative, said it was his organisation’s aim to take up the challenge to start agricultural developing projects throughout the country.
They target mostly emerging commercial farmers, especially from historically disadvantaged communities.
Makoale added that the aim of the project is to encourage black commercial farmers to produce good quality products, by following a scientific agricultural approach, to maximise profit.
The engagement aimed to share knowledge, skills and innovation of farming practices, said senior traditional leader Thovhele Vho- Ratshibvumo II Rambuda.
He thanked the government for helping local farmers, and encouraged farmers to work harder for their products to stock the packhouse and be sold.