By Nonceba Soul –
Improving the economy of the province and providing food security for all is one of the major focus points of the Free State provincial government.
The Free State MEC for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Benny Malakoane, on Tuesday (16 Oct) engaged with the Ladybrand-based Oos Vrystaat Kaap (OVK) Group on how a partnership can be forged in a bid to ensure improved food security in the province.
The meeting, held at the milling company’s head office in Ladybrand, tackled issues around cooperation on how to build and help one another to ultimately improve the economy of the province as well as bettering the lives of people through agriculture.
“It is necessary for us as a department to ensure that as we go about our business of growing the economy and ensuring that there is sustainable food security,” said Malakoane.
To do that, the department has to have relevant resources as well as partners who have to be specifically identified.
In the previous meetings with the farmers union as well as “friends of Agriculture” (OVK, VKB and others), the MEC discussed the possibility of farmers and the department working together to improve the level of farming in the province.
“The message that I carried across was that we need to be ‘hand-held’ as government so that we know what is going on and what we are supposed to be doing so that we do it right in partnership with the relevant people,” Malakoane explained.
Speaking at the same occasion, OVK Managing Director, Stefan Oberholzer, said his organisation was willing to work with the department in ensuring that food security improves.
“We really appreciate that Dr Benny has reached out to us. There is willingness from our side to work with government and see how we can improve job creation, which our country currently in need of,” said Oberholzer.
The cooperation between the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the OVK Group is likely to provide jobs for the unemployed. Other corporates are encouraged to emulate OVK’s gesture.
“We are very excited about this partnership with the department and we want to educate and help as many people as possible to know more about agriculture, and create jobs for our youth in the process,” Oberholzer explained.