King Goodwill Zwelithini and KZN MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi Picture: Supplied

Durban - An appeal has been made for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to fast-track the provision of water services for irrigation purposes. 

According to King Goodwill Zwelithini, this will go a long way in enhancing the agricultural work of rural communal subsistence farmers who often experience poor harvests due to a lack of adequate water resources.

Zwelithini officially met with KZN MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, at Linduzulu Royal Palace in KwaNongoma on Monday, where the MEC outlined the objectives of the budget that was tabled in the KZN Legislature in July.

The King shared with the MEC the urgent need to assist communities with irrigation services, especially those that rely on farming for survival and hard hit by the recent drought.

“This should be done by scooping of dams and drilling of boreholes amongst others in order to preserve and provide clean water for livestock and crop irrigation,” the King said. 

In order to address this and other challenges the MEC outlined departmental programmes that are aimed at eradicating water shortages for agricultural purposes.

“To ensure sustainable rural development, Rural Socio-Economic Strategy will be developed in the current financial year through a consultative approach with stakeholders, strategic partners, relevant departments, district and local municipalities,” Sithole-Moloi said.

She said this strategy will ensure coordination, integration and implementation of all programmes within the national, provincial and local sphere that will embrace a strong and economically viable rural economy.

This process will outline the department’s vision of advancing comprehensive rural development in KZN that is centred on viable livelihoods and expanding economic opportunities for rural citizens for sustained development.

However, Sithole-Moloi said that there are already irrigation schemes that have been finalised in Hlathikhulu, Tugela, Indumo and Insuze.

This year’s total departmental budget tabled by the MEC amounts to R2.4billion.

The Mercury