Mmadira Phetoe of Robega near Rustenburg received 11 goats from the North West government as part of reducing poverty and promoting agriculture. Picture: ANA/Stringer

Rustenburg - In a bid to reduce poverty and enhancing household income of rural communities, 200 indigent families in North West were handed over R5,5 million worth of food security projects in Robega outside Rustenburg.

Mmadira Phetoe, 53, was given 11 goats-- ten does and one billy goat. She said she was grateful to have received goats as it has been a family business as she explained that her uncle has been breeding goats since she was a young girl.

"Thank you agriculture for the goats. I am thankful because I know how to deal with them, what they eat and how they roam around. I have been helping my uncle with his goats for years," she said.

Another woman, Mpho Seabelo, 54, of Robega received 40 indigenous chickens, garden tools and peach trees.

Through the food security the provincial department of rural, environmental and agricultural development (READ) aims to reduce poverty, promote agricultural productivity, create job opportunities, enhance household income and the advancement of rural communities.

Seabelo said the chicken she received does not belong to her but to the community.

"I am thankful to have been chosen in this great venture. I will ensure that the chickens are well fed and given water daily. I will also ensure that my home has water so that I am able to water my garden when needed. I will also be able to help those who are destitute like me in my community," she said.

She said she will sell eggs to create employment for young people in Robega, adding that her two children would help to grow the business.

The food security project is part of the department's response to the community's needs to provide sustainable food methods. The selected people were given livestock depending on their experience.

Acting MEC Mpho Motlhabane said the programme was targeting individual households and not cooperatives in a bid to eliminate poverty.

"The programme targets those who are disadvantaged as we know that the South African government is trying its level best to fight unemployment and poverty. This is an initiative to show how agriculture can contribute to the economic development," he said.

"The starter packs that we have given out be able to sustain a family, and also a family can be able to sell after reaping the products. The family with chickens can use 60 eggs and sell 100 weekly," Motlhabane added.

The identified families, consisting of unemployed youth, women, the poor and the vulnerable, are from the four districts of the province, namely Bojanala, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati and Ngaka Modiri Molema.

They received agricultural inputs, indigenous chickens, fruit trees and small stock as well as feed so they can actively engage in agricultural activities and contribute to poverty reduction at household and national level.

The department would further assist to provide infrastructure for all projects and each project would be allocated an extension officer to offer continuous extension and advisory services to ensure growth and sustainability.

African News Agency (ANA)