ICYMI: Didiza encourages learners’ interest in agriculture

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Many students are not interested in agriculture and do not see it as a viable career option. However, the Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, is trying to change the way people perceive agriculture and encouraging students to pursue farming and food gardening.

The minister recently traveled to Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal, where she donated gardening tools to schools as part of her school garden resuscitation campaign. She was accompanied by senior officials from the Ministry of Education, the provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Illovo Sugar.

Okhozini Mixed School, iNtando Junior Primary School and iNgede Primary School are the three schools identified to benefit from the donation. The Minister also handed over gardening tools, plants and school shoes in each of the schools to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Minister Thoko Didiza, along with senior officials from the Department of Education, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Agriculture and Illovo Sugar, visited schools around Hammarsdale to encourage learners to develop a culture of gardening. Photo: Supplied/Food for Mzansi

According to Reggie Ngcobo, spokesperson for the department, the minister launched the school garden scheme in the Eastern Cape last year.

This program aims to [ a number of] areas of intervention. It teaches children the importance of nutrition and food safety. It raises awareness of agricultural professions [and] It helps young people to understand the agricultural value chain – from farm to fork,” Ngcobo explained.

Minister Didiza’s visit also draws attention to the department’s back-to-school campaign. Earlier this year, Didiza and Limpopo MEC for Education, Polly Boshielo, visited high schools in that province to examine how schools are integrating learning and agriculture as key to future sustainable land management.

During her visit, Didiza reminded learners that agriculture has a wide range of careers to choose from, including soil science, animal husbandry, agricultural economics and becoming a farmer.

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