AGRICULTURE MINISTRY CALLS FOR COMMERCIALIZATION OF INDIGENOUS FOODS
Ministry of Agriculture Home Economics Department Principal Officer Nikiwe Dlamini

AGRICULTURE MINISTRY CALLS FOR COMMERCIALIZATION OF INDIGENOUS FOODS

In the move to improve the economic performance of the agriculture industry the ministry has recently urged a 20 member women cooperative called ‘Arise and Shine’ to commercialize the processing of indigenous foods, which will go a long way in improving the economy of the country. The cooperative was started in 2017 and specializes in the fostering of indigenous foods. They also do catering. This fast rising cooperative is based in Vusweni under Nyakeni chiefdom. Recently, the cooperative hosted an exhibition where it invited the Ministry of Agriculture where the ministry’s department of Home Economics led by the Principal Officer, Nikiwe Dlamini, was also there. Also present was the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Regional Secretary. Speaking during the exhibition,
Director of Agricultural Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Nelson Mavuso who was represented by the Principal Officer in the department of Home Economics, Nikiwe Dlamini, encouraged the cooperative to put more effort in this initiative, saying that they have a big role to play in shaping the economic landscape of the country. Mavuso mentioned that indigenous vegetables are becoming more common in the diets of Africans and their
cultivation has increased in line with their popularity, thus increasing their market value. “Urban centers are becoming more important buyers as can be seen in the major chain stores where indigenous food is being sold,” said
Mavuso. He said indigenous foods need to be the core pillar of income generation for rural areas seeing that they
have a great potential to break into a whole new market. “As a ministry we would like to urge and encourage
Nyakeni women to take up the challenge of making sure that they rear all kinds of farm animals in their homesteads, grow enough vegetables that can be commercialized,” he said. He went on and said one female farmer producing indigenous vegetables provides employment to two others, who are a wholesaler and a retailer. “For anyone interested in rural farming, especially women, local indigenous vegetables offer an important entry point. These vegetables provide an economic pillar upon which rural women’s livelihood is supported,” said Mavuso.

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