CSC board; farmers need a stake

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 | 849 views

THE Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made has appointed a board for the Cold Storage Company.

Actually it was a renewal of the term of office for most board members with a few new additions.

The new board was tasked with the mandate to implement among other things, the Command Livestock Production Programme.

I wish to congratulate the new members who have been appointed to serve on this important board as well as the old members whose mandate has been renewed.

However, I also wish to observe the glaring absence of farmer representatives in such an important board.

It is a serious error of omission for the appointing authority to fail to include at least one or two farmers’ union representatives.

CSC is a strategic institution for livestock farmers in a similar magnitude the Grain Marketing Board is to the crop production.

It is my well-considered view that farmers’ interest can only be and should be represented by fellow farmers instead of being left in the hands of elite professionals who may not have appreciation of day-to-day farmers’ trials and tribulations.

So much is expected from Command Livestock Production and hence we appeal to the new board to pull up their socks and ensure that farmers benefit from the programme and that it is a success of the same magnitude as the crop production side.

I certainly hope that the board will take its mandate seriously and we do not want to be reading in the media of disappointments such as CSC properties being auctioned right under their watch.

The board is the governing authority of the institution and it should act as such.

If CSC is failing to tick the buck does not stop with the staff but with the board as the supervising authority. I am not intending to lecture the new and old board members of their roles which am very sure they know very well but it is a clarion call for the board to discharge its mandate to the best of its ability.

To me that can only be demonstrated by a clear trajectory being set and adopted by the board to take CSC out of the woods where it has been for a long time at the detriment of the multitude of livestock farmers. Akelisibangule ma board members!

We have long bemoaned the unavailability of livestock specific programmes from the Government and hence we are pleased as livestock farmers about the pronouncement of Command Livestock and we will not be pleased if the appointed board members fail to make this long overdue dream from livestock farmers, a reality.

We want the CSC of yesteryear which had clear meticulous livestock breeding programmes to support emerging and established farmers.

It is public knowledge that some of well-respected livestock farmers in this country got support during their formative stage from CSC.

It is against this background that I strongly feel that the appointing authority should not have omitted representatives of livestock farmers.

Two or three seats on the board in my books should be occupied by livestock farmers’ unions so that issues affecting farmers are well articulated.

Such representation would make the board to be in synch with the expectations of farmers on the ground. That having been said it is definitely in good keeping that we wish the new board a fruitful term at the helm of CSC.

Uyabonga umntakaMaKhumalo.

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