South Africa: Skills Training a Cornerstone of Development

press release

Nkomazi Skills training is the keystone of development in transforming the lives of the small scale and emerging farmers that came to light when Cotton SA in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Administration (Dardla) honoured all the farmers that participated in the skills development initiative.

Cotton SA together with Dardla handed over 50 certificates, registered and approved with AgriSeta to Nkomazi Cotton Farmers partaken in the skills development accredited training, and this exciting and memorable event was held on 5 December 2012 at Mzinti Training Centre.

In this initiative, Cotton SA has extended a warm hand to perk up the skills of the cotton farmers and offered accredited skills training to all the people who showed interest to expand their knowledge in the cotton industry. The training was facilitated by Cotton SA and fully supported by Dardla.

The training was scheduled and completed in four weeks on September 2012. The programme consists of 10 unit standards, representing 43 credits, and was grouped into four modules. It also comprised of the following modules: all pre-plant activities (financial management), field preparations (establishment, nutrition and moisture needs), pest (insect) management, and preparations for harvesting.

Addressing the gathering, the Director for District Services: Ehlanzeni South Mr. OB Magagula congratulated all the cotton farmers attended the event and Cotton SA on their accomplishment. He encouraged them to continue working hard, because these certificates were a great achievement.

He indicated that the department has committed that there should be a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Cotton SA and Dardla in ensuring that the lives of the cotton farmers were improved for the better. He also highlighted that Cotton SA was approached to provide mentorship to cotton farmers.

Mr Hennie Bruwer of Cotton SA applauded the initiative and thanked the farmers for their commitment and hard work from the beginning up until to the end of the course. He stated that in order for the farmers to sustain over a long term they have to train them properly, but not only the farmers, the Agric Advisors as well because that would be the core of long term sustainability.

"Training is an ongoing process will never end, so you can't say you stopped training, farmers have to come back all the time to be trained and refresh courses, in order to become better farmers. You can't stop training, it is the cornerstone of development, you train them properly so that they know what to do in financing, soil preparation, harvesting and marketing."

A hard worker and committed cotton farmer, and the Chairperson of the Nkomazi Farmers Association, Mr. Robert Nkalanga was content with the progress made through this skills development training. He added that the training was a true inspiration to farmers because now they know a lot about cotton production.

He further indicated that though the cotton production was doing well they were still encountering some difficulties when it comes to finding a market, late ploughing and transportation of cotton bales was also an obstacle. They also requested a cotton processing machine. He said they had a good year of harvesting in terms of cotton production. They achieved about 2 749 bales of cotton. The number of cotton bales was very high, but the challenge was that they took it very late to the market, and were charged for that. They have been selling their cotton bales to Loskop Gin.

Cotton was one of the six commodities which were supported through production inputs and mechanisation services by the department, linking nine villages, Mandulo, Dludluma, Steenbok, Khombaso, Mbangwane, Goba, Tsambokhulu, Mananga and Mangweni with 13 Farmers Associations producing cotton in the Nkomazi Local Municipality.

Issued by: Mpumalanga Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration

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