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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

‘Look at the money you get out of it’- Thoko Didiza wants youth to get into farming

The agriculture minister visited Moletele near Hoedspruit, Limpopo on Wednesday.

Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza said the secret to getting the youth interested in farming lies in the sector’s financial value.

Didiza visited the Richmond Farm near Hoedspruit, Limpopo on Wednesday for the official launch of the Moletele Corona Limes project.

Started nearly four years ago from a partnership between South African Breweries (SAB), Komati Fruit Group and the Moletele Community, the farm recently harvested its first fruit.

READ MORE: Bearing fruit beyond beer: SAB turns lemons into limes

‘Effective partnership’

Speaking to The Citizen, Didiza praised the initiative.

“For us, effective partnership is where communities also become part of the economy – as we’re seeing here,” Didiza said.

The Moletele Community was granted ownership of the Richmond Farm in 2017, following a successful land claim – and has since leased the land to Komati Fruit.

SAB put R19 million in to get the project off the ground, while Komati Fruit provided agricultural expertise and support.

Didiza said the Moletele Community’s decision to play an active role, was a smart move.

“The Moletele Community could have chosen to lease the land, and just get rentals. But they decided to enter into various partnerships across different farms in order to not only [collect] rentals, but to also receive dividends.”

She said it also made sure they were often the first people considered for job opportunities.

So far the project has created 12 permanent jobs for locals who were trained and upskilled to work on the lime farm.

ALSO READ: Social innovators win big at SAB Foundation Awards

Getting the youth on board

Asked what could be done to get the youth interested in agriculture, Didiza said they needed to look at farming differently.

“If you want to interest people in farming, look at it as a business…and the money you get out of it,” she told The Citizen.

While it may appear less glamorous to most young people, the industry has plenty of opportunities.

“If you see agriculture as a business and its economic value, then it changes the mindset,” Didiza said.

Minister of Agriculture, Thoko Didiza visited Moletele Corona Limes near Hoedspruit, Limpopo on Wednesday. Image: Supplied.

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