Agriculture Minister must intervene in Potch College of Agriculture’s decline

Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP, as well as pictures here, here, here, here, here and here.

The DA has written to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to seek answers regarding the neglect of the Potchefstroom College of Agriculture and the unhealthy status of their cattle.

The DA’s oversight on Friday confirms the recent reports showing dilapidated buildings and unhealthy-looking cattle on the premises of the college. It is totally unacceptable for any agricultural college to allow their buildings to deteriorate to that level and to neglect their animals.

Colleges and agriculture schools teach students how to take care of animals and the land. Furthermore, agricultural colleges are where students are taught how the maintenance of infrastructure on farms, including sheds and buildings for animals and packaging of produce on the farm are done or conducted.

Unfortunately, the state of the college indicates that its quality of education cannot be trusted. It is no wonder there are so many unemployed graduates from the agriculture colleges if this is what they’re exposed to.

The DA has asked the Minister:

  • To explain the college’s deterioration and the animals’ unhealthy condition;
  • For a detailed budget breakdown of the upkeep of the movable and non-movable assets owned by all the agriculture colleges and their values because is important that all assets are maintained or replaced using budget allocation; and
  • The standard maintenance protocol required by all agricultural colleges in order to maintain their teaching license.

At least the Western Cape Elsenburg College of Agriculture’s land and infrastructure (movable and non-movable) are in good condition and provide the students with great exposure to practice how to apply their theoretical knowledge once placed on farms. Because of the already existing strong collaboration between the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and agribusiness, the theory gained in class empowers students to effectively apply themselves during their internships on farms.

All South Africa’s agriculture students deserve the same high quality education. Agriculture is crucial to both food security and economic development. Government must ensure that the future generations of farmers are well-equipped for their vital tasks.