The Department has been responsible for ensuring food security through the implementation of various programmes in all districts of the province. These include:
Farmer support and development
This program renders services in areas of agricultural economy and research whereby farmers are assisted with the development of business plans, price trends, marketing and overall knowledge on business management; and engineering services plans for construction of projects in terms of specifications, environment impact assessments and general designs of infrastructural projects.Land care ensures sustainable resource management through continuous awareness to schools (junior land care) and farming communities as a whole. This program also includes farm research of new technologies and their application thereof.
Farmers are trained in all areas of their farming activities. This training is done through the non-formal section of the department. Mentoring of these farmers is done through partnerships with experienced commercial farmers.
Veterinary and Laboratory Services
The programme promotes animal health where key activities are the prevention of occurrences of animal disease through awareness and vaccination campaigns. The export of animal products is regulated in this section.Veterinary public health regulates the Meat Safety Act by carrying out continuous inspections and issuing certificates at abattoirs in order to ensure that the public consume healthy animal food at all times.Laboratory services render diagnosis of animal diseases through various tests, monitoring of disease schemes, and epidemiology surveillance.
The Glen College is responsible for formal training of students. It offers agricultural two-year certificate or three year diploma qualifications to students. Each year, Glen College graduates students who have completed their studies in these accredited fields.
Implementation of Agricultural Projects
All agricultural projects are implemented at district level where the department has established fully operational offices in the five districts. These offices are equipped with qualified field officials managed by district senior managers.
The department is implementing projects in accordance with its provincial strategy of pursuing the commodity approach. The following projects are implemented throughout the province:
- Livestock projects with strategic partners such as the IDC, FSU and CUT.
- Grain and vegetables with partners, including POTATO SA, VKB and Grain SA.
- Poultry with OVK/VKB as partner.
- Aquaculture, in partnership with the Chinese government.
- Dairy projects in the Setsoto Municipality.
- Other important projects include mechanisation, irrigation and water reticulation, as well as peach, apple, pecan nuts, cherries, asparagus and ostrich projects.
Agro-processing and value adding to agricultural products have been identified as key drivers for job creation in the agricultural and other associate sectors. Products such as peanut butter, dairy, poultry, pecan nuts, fish, sunflower oil, cherries and herbs have been identified for this purpose.
Recently, this program was incorporated into the department. Its mandate is to coordinate all the initiatives by the different departments in the rural areas and ensure that the needs for rural communities are addressed.It implements its objectives through identifying sites for Community Development and Rural Projects (CDRP) and ensures that the needs are addressed in those sites. Rural Development has been identified as one of the National priorities, which will assist in eradicating rural poverty and high unemployment rate in these areas.