More Eastern Cape schools join agriculture programme

The programme will see schools selling produce directly to the market
UNLOCKING SKILLS: The programme will see schools selling produce directly to the market
Image: 123RF/ KOSTIC DUSAN

Dozens of schools from around the Eastern Cape have been selected to join phase two of the technology-driven School Agriculture and Food Security Programme.

The programme — an initiative by the Vodacom Eastern Cape Region in partnership with the Eastern Cape departments of education and rural development and agrarian reform — aims to inspire the youth to enter the lucrative agricultural sector and introduce pupils to a hi-tech platform that will see schools selling produce directly to the market.

Mpumelelo Khumalo, managing executive for the Vodacom Eastern Region, said they were delighted to be welcoming the new cohort of 80 government schools into the programme.

“From the outset, we have said this initiative is not a one-hit-wonder, but we are here for the long haul, driving sustainable change and mindshifts among schoolgoing children of this province,” he said.

Vodacom was determined to inspire young people to play a significant role in food security, job creation and poverty alleviation through their active participation in the lucrative agriculture sector.

Education MEC Fundile Gade welcomed Vodacom’s assistance in unlocking skills that would benefit communities beyond the schoolyard.

“Ultimately, these kinds of investments have a ripple effect in our communities,” he said.

“We hope the citizens we build inside the classroom will be able to grasp this and help the province in addressing food shortages through their contribution to where they live with the acquired skills,” he said.

The programme has a competition aspect as schools are identified and undergo a rigorous adjudication process.

To win the grand prize, they need to demonstrate innovation and creativity in improving production.

They also need to have a commitment to caring for and ensuring sustainability of the natural resources, including understanding of, adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

Critically, they need to demonstrate a degree of innovation and creativity in improving farming methods and deliver a consistent supply of products of high quality.

The 2021 rollout will be in October.

HeraldLIVE

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