About fifty unemployed youth are set to benefit from a multimillion rand grant from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
The youth are from various parts of KwaZulu-Natal such as Ugu district, Harry Gwala, Umgungundlovu, Ilembe and others.
The youth will receive training in farming as well as leadership. The South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA) that is the umbrella body representing small-scale sugar cane farms, believes the programme is aimed at transforming the sugar industry while alleviating poverty.
SAFDA Executive Chairperson, Dr Siyabonga Madlala, says the youth will be trained on how to sustain the farms and better their lives.
“We can proudly say we are proud recipients of a total of R96 million for KZN small scale farmers. To those farmers this year they will not be buying fertilisers because government has assisted with that. We are also sending off fifty of our youth from our respective land reform farms, where this youth we believe will be able to be trained and come back and tale over because you will see that within the growing fraternity. The age of a farmer is mostly old people so we are introducing the youth to the farming skills. We are excited with the partnership with the department” says Dr Madlala.
Meanwhile, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Representative, Nhlanhla Mndaweni says the 50 youth from communal farms who are beneficiaries of the training programme will act as agents of change in their communities.
“So they come from those rural areas as well as rural farms that are growing sugarcane. They are trained in planting and producing. There is a variety of other skills that are needed in those farms where they come from. So they are able to assist the people who are back at home. If you look most claimants of the farms are usually elderly people and we want to inject some youth. So fifty youth we are sending off today, first part they are going to Thabanchu. To learn about leadership skills,” says Mndaweni.