Farmers have been urged to take interest in projects brought closer to them by government.
This was said by Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) Eswatini Coordinator Maswati Dludlu during a workshop aimed at sensitising farmers under the Mafutseni Inkhundla.
They were alerted on the opportunities they are missing as a result of not taking farming seriously, especially during the COVID-19 era.
Dludlu said the projects presented by government were done with good intentions. however, she warned that farmers should not look them at as ‘a government thing’.
“If you fully embrace the project, you need to take ownership, by making sure that nothing affects that project. For you to be able to do that, get involved from the outset so that you fully understand the rationale behind government’s intentions,” he said.
The farmers were educated on the importance of ensuring that agriculture committees are part of chiefdom development plans, especially because the agricultural sector plays a huge role in ensuring the country’s economy flourishes.
The workshop was also attended by Mafutseni Indvuna yeNkhundla Mduduzi Vilakati. He praised ESAFF for bringing such a service to their constituency and assured farmers that his office would always be willing to assist them at anytime they needed assistance from the Inkhundla centre.
He said there is a great need for farmers to notify their chiefs about the concept of utilising the earth dams.
“The involvement of chiefs will assist the farmers to get political backing from their chiefs, so that the inkhundla becomes one of the first few to venture into producing vegetables for local and international market.
“Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, farmers can be the only group that can put a stop to the skyrocketing food prices. It will in turn help you as Mafutseni farmers, to create a stable source of income, despite of the hardships brought about by the pandemic,” he added.
He further encouraged the farmers to make good use of the acres of land allocated to their respective families.
“By so doing, you can be an inspiration to your children as they would view farming positively.
As farmers, also make use of the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic as a means of transforming rural farmers to become giants, so that those in urban areas will look up to you for solutions in as far as self-sufficiency is concerned,” he said.
The sensitisation workshop was one of the pillars of the African Union concept that was adopted by African heads of state, where they unanimously agreed that all African states should pump in more resources to the agricultural sector, mainly made of small-holder farmers through the Public Expenditure Tracking Survey, popularly known as PETS.
The main aim of PETS was to allow smallholder farmers to fully understand how their governments were going to meet the basic needs of smallholder farmers.
These were in line with the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). it culminated into the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods of June 2014.
ESAFF is found in 16 states in the Eastern Southern African region, while it started operating in the Kingdom in 2017.
Read the story here Swazi Observer