“Farmers and agri-workers do not deserve the vile sentiments expressed in the song “Kill the Farmer, Kill the Boer which was so enthusiastically and irresponsibly sung of over the weekend,” said Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer.
“Our farmers work hard to produce food for our nation and ensure food security” added Minister Meyer.
Minister Meyer continued, “The contribution of the agricultural sector to the Western Cape economy is something that we are incredibly proud of and want to sustain and grow,” adding that the Western Cape agricultural industry increased by 32%, reaching R5.2 billion in 2021.
The Western Cape Government also at its core, believes in redress and the important role that government must play to champion and support aspiring farmers and agri-workers. As part of this redress initiative, the department completed an external land reform study to evaluate the performance of agricultural land reform projects that had been supported by the WCG during the period, 2014 – 2019. The study revealed a 72% success rate from 243 projects – the best result of any province.
Minister Meyer commented: “Through the support of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Beverley Joseph, South Africa’s first black female hops farmer and owner of the 50.8-hectare farm, Zelpy, has developed into a successful commercial hops farmer.
“Klein Goederust Franschhoek Boutique Winery, owned by the child of an agri – worker, Paul Siguqa, serves as another example”, said Meyer. “Located in Franschhoek, Klein Goederust has been transformed from its dilapidated state to a promising boutique wine farm.”
“The Western Cape is also the only agriculture department in South Africa which has a dedicated programme established to enhance the socio-economic conditions of agri -workers and their family members. We do so, through the facilitation of training and development initiatives, to improve their quality of life.
“We are also the only department in the country that hosts an annual agri-worker competition to acknowledge the contribution of our agri-workers to the economy of the Western Cape.”
In the context where we are working so hard to support and build agri-business in the Western Cape and South Africa, the kind of rhetoric displayed over the weekend, severely damages the work to strengthen our social fabric.
“Farm attacks are a reality in South Africa. The increase in farm murders and attacks is a serious concern. It is, for this reason, the Western Cape has worked hard to implement the Provincial Rural Safety Plan, which requires the government to form partnerships with the South African Police Service, Neighbourhood and Farm Watches, the private sector and any other structure that can contribute towards making our rural communities safer.”
Minister Meyer Meyer also highlights that guided by the Western Cape Government’s focus areas of jobs, safety and dignity the Western Cape Department of Agriculture has done much to improve the lives of those working in the sector. “Our farmers, agri -workers and families deserve respect and dignity,” concluded Minister Meyer.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Western Cape Agriculture and Rural Development, South Africa.