Mpumalanga cotton farmers got the opportunity to brush up on their skills thanks to a partnership between Cotton SA and the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration.
Cotton SA, with the support of the department, facilitated skills training for cotton farmers in Nkomazi recently.
The four-week programme consisted of 10 unit standards, representing 43 credits and was grouped into four modules - pre-plant activities (financial management), field preparations (establishment, nutrition and moisture needs), pest (insect) management and preparations for harvesting.
Farmers who successfully completed the course were awarded certificates.
Robert Nkalanga, a cotton farmer and chairperson of the Nkomazi Farmers Association, said the programme would be of great benefit to the farmers as it had increased their knowledge of cotton production.
The department’s director of district services: Ehlanzeni south, Oneday Magagula, congratulated the cotton farmers on their accomplishment.
The department was hopeful that there would be a memorandum of understanding between itself and Cotton SA to ensure that the lives of cotton farmers were improved, he added.
Hennie Bruwer, of Cotton SA, applauded the initiative and thanked the farmers for their commitment and hard work during the course.
“Training is an ongoing process that will never end … farmers have to come back all the time to be trained and refresh courses, in order to become better farmers.
“You can’t stop training, it is the cornerstone of development. You train them properly so that they know what to do in financing, soil preparation, harvesting and marketing,” he added.
*Celani Ndude works for the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration.