Bergville (Okhahlamba) is already reaping the rewards of legal cannabis cultivation. Now iLembe District Municipality, KwaZulu Natal’s smallest district, north-west of Durban, is on the cannabis bandwagon with an initiative aimed at boosting jobs, especially among the youth.
A groundbreaking initiative is set to grow the agricultural sector in the iLembe District Municipality, according to KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Finance, Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni as reported by SA Govt News.
In a report published on IOL, Nkonyeni said the provincial government planned to focus on growing cannabis and other indigenous plants, as well as facilitate entry into markets so that all organic agricultural products could be exported to foreign countries. Ilembe district stretches from Ballito to and includes KwaDukuza and Stanger with the northernmost town being Isithebe.
Through this initiative, the province would afford an opportunity for the youth and unemployed graduates to get involved in farming.
The MEC made the comments when she addressed stakeholders, including business, traditional leaders, agriculture professionals and experts in organic farming, recently.
"We are here to offer our services to teach all communities under Amakhosi to plant and use their vast agricultural land to improve their livelihoods. We are here to share experience, learn from each other and grow our agriculture commercially.
"As much as we want to fight poverty and food shortages, what is equally important is to be creative and focus on organic plants that we can consume, but also sell outside of our country to boost our economic development. This requires strong partnerships and commitment to succeed," Nkonyeni said.
She said the engagement would soon be followed by implementation as agricultural land in the iLembe District has already been identified and will be used for training and planting - promising thousands of job spin-offs for local communities.
KZN Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Super Zuma said the department was focused on agricultural projects that help fight poverty, create employment and reduce inequality.
He said the initiative in Ilembe was a breath of fresh air and that he hoped to see many people getting involved.
"That is why we are focusing strongly on our programme in one home, one garden. We are working with Amakhosi to help us demarcate agricultural land and make it available for communities," Zuma said.
ILembe District Mayor, Thobani Shandu, said the engagement was strategic because it helped them to bring together variously skilled professionals, especially in a scarce and unique agricultural platform, such as growing and selling organic medical herbs, to share ideas on how they can further develop the livelihoods and the economy of Ilembe District.
"The partnership with Amakhosi is crucial because they facilitate availability of agricultural land for the development of communities," Shandu said.