Western Cape agriculture advisory programme to be showcased at UN conference

The Western Cape’s farmer support programme will be showcased at a United Nations conference later this year.

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In October, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s extension advisory services system will be featured at the Committee on World Food Security at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. This conference will take place in Italy from the 17 – 21 October 2016.

Speaking in the Western Cape Legislature last week (25 August 2016), Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the FAO visited the Western Cape earlier this year.

In April, one of the FAO’s most senior officials travelled to the Western Cape to learn more about the agriculture department’s extension programme. The programme falls under Farmer Support and Development.

“We are embracing innovation in agriculture and the FAO were particularly interested in our use of the smart-pen technology. Our extension officers are highly skilled and we provide regular training to make sure that our staff meet industry demands. In this way, they are able to offer quality advice to our clients. We know that farmers, especially emerging farmers in rural areas, need the right support to ensure their enterprises are successful.”

Minister Winde said the province’s extension service was setting the bar for how governments should deliver support to farmers.

“The FAO have recognised our extension system as one of the best in the world, and believe other countries could benefit from our model. Featuring on this global platform is proof that we are setting the standard for excellence and I would like to commend the officials for their hard work in making this happen.”

Minister Winde said the department’s extension officers supported over 2000 smallholder farmers with advice in the previous financial year.

The Farmer Support and Development programme’s targets for this financial year include:

  • 4140 site visits to subsistence, smallholder and commercial farmers to deliver extension and advisory services
  • 1620 smallholder producers supported with agricultural advice.
  • 192 farm assessments and farm plans completed for smallholder and commercial farmers
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