MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform in the Eastern Cape Province Mlibo Qoboshiyane released results of the anti-poverty site programme at Mandileni Village, Ward 14 in Mount Frere. This event was held on 11 November 2014.

Affectionately known as DRDAR, the MEC for this department; accompanied by Alfred Nzo District Municipality Executive Mayor Eunice Diko, Deputy Executive Mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu, Umzimvubu Local Municipality Mayor Khulukazi Phangwa spent a day at this ward exhibiting what service delivery truly resembles.

Poverty stricken areas in the Eastern Cape inspired the DRDAR to start anti-poverty programmes of this nature which are composed of massive agricultural activities that seek to hold poverty by the scruff of its neck and uproot it. The main objective of this programme is to encourage communities to go back to times when subsistence production or farming was means of bringing food on the table. “It is about time we all behave like ants. Prepare ourselves for hard times and let poverty not be our daily recitation in our lives. We need to stand up on unshaken feet and with no-tiring arms to feed our tummies,” said the MEC.

Having been launched in 2009, the programme seeks to intervene by bettering people’s lives through recognising agriculture practice as it used to be in the past. Arable lands, gardens and vegetable gardens need to be utilised. Emphasis was also made by the MEC on other forms of agricultural practice such as poultry, piggery, cattle as well as stock farming which in turn have a potential to boost the local economy.

The Integrated Food Security & Nutrition Programme has covered quite a number of districts in the Eastern Cape including Alfred Nzo, and specifically Umzimvubu where a Vegetable Production Inputs and Animal Production that costs R106 420.00 was established in Mandileni; benefiting 80 households.

Subsequently, a seminar on Food Security and Nutrition was held in Mount Frere Town Hall on 12 November 2014 with about 100 delegates. Aspects such climate change in feeding the world and embarking on to effective production were looked at and discussed broadly.

Incorporated to this programme was a hand-over of 25 completed houses at Nqalweni Village; houses which were constructed by Umzimvubu Local Municipality and the Provincial Department of Human Settlement. One of the beneficiaries is a centenarian who is 104 years of age and his wife 102. They expressed their sincere gratitude for the house and blessed the government of South Africa, saying that even if they are to die soon, they will have a peaceful one, having had a comfortable stay in their last days.

Agricultural equipment was also handed over by the MEC in encouraging local households to start family gardens and aggressively fighting poverty.