Launch of planting season at Amajuba District

16 October 2019

KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says fewer people would get sick or die from diseases such as stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure if society could adopt a culture of planting and eating food that is rich in nutrients. The MEC says that too many people end up with a compromised quality of life due to consuming food that is either too oily, too salty, or has too much sugar and failure to exercise regularly – costing government an exorbitant sum of money on medication and the ongoing provision of healthcare.

The MEC was speaking at Dannhauser, at Amajuba District on Tuesday (15 October 2019), where she officially launched the planting season programme. One of the highlights of the MEC’s engagement was when the local farming community were linked up with a contractor who will be sourcing produce from them, to supply food to the three hospitals in the district – Newcastle, Madadeni and Niemeyer, as well as Dannhauser Community Health Centre.

Government developed the planting season programme in response to the need to ensure food insecurity, and to halt land under-utilization and low productivity. Through the planting season programme, Government provides support to KZN farmers that include:

  • Supply of production inputs (fertilizer, seed and chemicals).
  • Provision of mechanization services (ploughing, discing, planting and application of agro-chemicals and fertilizer).
  • Assistance with marketing of produce, especially through the Government lead Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation programme (RASET) and other outlets.
The programme focuses on the production of summer crops (maize and beans) and vegetable production in support of the RASET programme. MEC Simelane-Zulu said: “The provincial executive committee in KZN took a decision that the official launch of the planting season will be implemented by all MECs that are champions in the different districts.

“We want to encourage our people to actually get into agriculture. To understand that agriculture is not just about subsistence farming. While we believe farming is good for the poor, and those in rural areas, we also want our people to get actively involved in the economy of the province. “The province of KZN in essence is actually rural, with pockets of urbanization. It’s very important for this province to maximise the outputs that we take out of the land, and ensure that we provide the rest of the country, and even internationally with our produce. We have an opportunity that is not available to most province in this country where we have the Dube Trade Port on our door step. We should be able to utilize that. So, this is a continuation of the project implemented by our Honourable Premier, Mr Sihle Zikalala, when he was the MEC for Economic Development.”

MEC Simelane-Zulu also encouraged scores of people attending this community outreach programme, held at KwaMdakane Community Hall, to watch what they eat, and be generally more health-conscious.

“We encourage prevention rather than curing. Part of being preventative is to ensure that our people eat, and eat properly. Eating properly contributes with the vitamins that are needed by the body, and by the system, that you can only get from food that is not overly processed. We encourage our fellow compatriots to actually plant, to have small gardens at home. That way, it means we are creating a whole generation of people who will understand that vegetables are the main key to their livelihood. If our people are going to be able to embrace it, is going to assist us in reducing the rate of our non-communicable diseases."

“When you consider cholesterol... if you fry your food you’re taking our all the nutrients that are there. So this, if this is embraced by the province and the people of KwaZulu-Natal, will reduce our burden on non-communicable diseases immensely.”

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This page last edited on 26 November, 2019

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