The smallholder farmers who stand to benefit from the training offered at the now revitalised Kgora Farmer Training Centre, say they are looking forward to improving their agricultural skills and using that to contribute towards the production of healthy food. This after the official launch of Kgora Farmer Training Centre last week, that was attended by more than five hundred agricultural stakeholders.
One of the smallholder farmers who was amongst the first group trained at Kgora early last week, Mr George Molokwane, a livestock farmer who breeds goats and Bonsmara cattle, says the training he has just completed sharpened his knowledge and that he is now hoping to improve his approach to managing his livestock project.
The training he attended with 24 other smallholder farmers, focused on Business Management for Value-adding. The aim of this theory-based short course is to enhance farmers’ business management skills that include record keeping, financial management, handling of different chemicals like pesticides, and management of storage facilities.
Explaining the approach to training beneficiaries on especially the ‘learning by doing’ model, the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Desbo Mohono says community members will be profiled and trained on this hands-on model for sustainable subsistence food production practices.
“These members will be allocated agricultural starter packs upon successful completion of the training, to take home for sustained production. Beneficiaries in this category will be followed up until they are capable to produce sustainably”.
Mohono says government has a responsibility to create platforms for farmer support, and that it is critical for farmers who will benefit from this training centre to share the same vision as government, and play their part.
Additionally, farmers at different levels will be profiled in conjunction with organised Agriculture to identify and address commodity based skills shortage.
The renewed vision for Kgora Farmer Training Centre is to serve as a world class, accredited, income-generating farmer training centre that emulates “learning by doing”. In line with this vision, training will focus on household food security, primary production, agro-processing/value adding and project management.
Agriculture stakeholders spoke with one voice in support of this renewed approach, saying they want their hands to be counted as key partners in this programme.
“Of utmost importance to this initiative should be total commitment from the side of farmers”, said Mr Willson Mngwambe, a delegate from the Netherlands Embassy during the launch of the farmer training centre.