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Department of Agriculture budget vote: 2007
At National Assembly in Cape Town
18 May 2007
Ms Lulu Xingwana
Ministry of Agriculture and Land Affairs


I extend to you my warm greetings in this house today. Clearly without your support and commitment the implementation of the agrarian revolution is not possible.

To the Presidents of the farmers' unions, farmers and farmer organisations, leaders of the agricultural business, members of the agricultural chief executive officers' (CEOs) forum from the various industries and agricultural business, our local government representatives with you we share this exciting and joint responsibility to ensure a united and prosperous rural and agricultural economy.

To Women in Agriculture and Rural Development and many other women in South Africa you are the spearhead at the forefront of our struggle to combat poverty, hunger and the elimination of racial and social discrimination.

To young farmers, you are the bedrock upon which the food needs of our people and country in future is firmly secured.

To traditional leaders who oversee land user rights for many people in communal areas to get sustenance in the face of challenges of life.

To the poor rural communities, landless communities whose life in land is insecure, the farm workers and workers in the food and agricultural industry, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in the land and agrarian sector.

To you all I want to say that our objective to grow the agricultural sector and transform its skewed ownership patterns of land and enterprises in our country is surely being realised each day through your efforts and government programmes that have been put in place.

Madame Speaker, in order to take our people out of the poverty trap we must accelerate the pace of our land and agricultural reform.

A great daughter of the soil, born in the rural village of Ga-Ramokgopa near Polokwane defied the then colonial authorities who did not allow Africans to study science by going to the United States (US) and returning as the first African in South Africa to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree.

This is Charlotte Makgomo Maxeke, a pioneer who opened the way for African people especially rural women that they can overcame all odds that stand in the way for social and economic emancipation. She also laid the foundations for the formation of the African National Congress (ANC) Women's League when she founded the Bantu Women's League.

In the true tradition of Charlotte Maxeke, last month South African rural women hosted 2 000 rural women of Africa and from the rest of the world, in Durban, under the auspices of the Fourth World Congress of Rural Women.

They called upon their governments and private sector to put the emancipation and the role of rural women at the centre of the development agenda.

They adopted the slogan of their physically challenged rural women counterparts that, "Nothing about us without us."

They demanded access to skills, technology, finance, peace, strengthening of good governance, increased use of local indigenous languages, access to land, mineral resources, energy, markets, health, transport, water and sanitation.

On behalf of those rural women I would like to thank the Cabinet, the President and Deputy President for their support in making this event a resounding success.

Madame Speaker, in this gallery sits a group of learners who have made a substantial contribution to this budget vote. These learners have demonstrated their understanding of the dynamics and importance of the agriculture sector. Wilhemina Mabasa of Mamelodi High states that the weapon to fight unemployment and hunger lies right under our feet.

Ke nnete, lehumo letswa tshemong.

This statement is applicable to the rest of the African continent which is well endowed with natural resources and biodiversity and should not suffer from hunger and poverty.

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