Eskom empowers emerging farmers through MASDT
Emerging farmers in at least four provinces received a massive boost on 24 February 2012 with a development grant from Eskom worth R1m.
The equipment, which includes tractors, ploughing and other agricultural equipment, was donated to MASDT at a function in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. The presentation was made by Ms Haylene Liberty, chief executive of the Eskom Foundation, and received by MASDT chair Dr Mathews Phosa.
“Just as mechanics and engineers cannot fix engines without tools, so farmers cannot farm effectively without essential farming equipment,” Dr Phosa said in accepting the grant. “This donation will make a significant difference in the lives of many impoverished people, and empower entire communities.”
Ms Libety said that Eskom’s responsibility as an electricity utility does not stop with providing power to the people. “We also have a social responsibility to change the lives of communities in dire need and empower them so that they can take their rightful place in our society. We are proud to be associated with emerging farmers through their service provider, MASDT.”
The UN report says there is an urgent need to accelerate sustainable agricultural practices so that smallholder farmers can successfully feed their families; connect to markets, and contribute more to global food production. UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser recently said: “South Africa’s cooperation is a key element to tackle hunger and ensure food security.”
MASDT is doing just that. During the past four years, it has been supporting, developing and managing some 135 agricultural projects for emerging farmers in four provinces: Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northwest and KwaZulu-Natal.
The company provides rural communities with top-notch training through its own Private Further Education and Training (FET) College. It also assists 24 companies in planning, submission and execution of skills development to qualify for mandatory grants from the various SETAs.
In line with national government’s imperatives on poverty alleviation, job creation and food security, MASDT runs agri skills incubators in eight areas throughout Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The belief is that virtual incubation - combined with nationally recognised training - is the most suitable model to assist emerging agricultural businesses to grow into sustainable commercial enterprises.
Dr Phosa, Chairperson of MASDT Board, Me Haylene Liberty, CEO Eskom Foundation and Lynette Bezuidenhoud