Bene Mpoko addresses the students on the importance of agriculture to food security in Africa.

The former Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ambassador to South Africa, Bene Mpoko, encouraged the Ekurhuleni Agricultural College (EAC) students to take their studies seriously because of the importance of the agricultural sector to food security in Africa.

“No African child should go to bed hungry. The agricultural sector is critical for the well-being of the continent.”
Mpoko was one of the guests during the college’s farmers’ day event in Cloverdene on May 5.

“We have the land, water and people prepared to work the land. I encourage you to take what you do seriously,” he said.

In stressing the importance of the sector, the former ambassador said the students are in the right industry and should therefore not allow anyone to tell them otherwise.

“By being on the land and producing food, you are keeping people alive. In Africa, we have around 1.4 billion people who must eat every day.”

According to Mpoko, the future of the world is in food production. He warned that the war in Ukraine is threatening global food security because of the halt in grain production, produced in the former Soviet Union nation.

“Some countries are going hungry because of this war. Ukraine produces grain and distributes it globally.”

Mpoko was introduced to agriculture by his father, who was a fisherman in the Congo river.

He studied economics and finance at Pomona College in California. He spent his summers in the state of Kansas learning how the Americans grow wheat and vegetables.

In 1995, the UN appointed him to lead their South African office and in 2000, the former DRC president Joseph Kabila appointed him as ambassador to South Africa.

During his 21 years as ambassador, he founded the Buhle Farmers’ Academy in Delmas because ‘agriculture is in his blood’.

Mpoko encouraged the students to capitalise on the current trends because the sector is going through a major transformation. He added that because of our current water shortages, they should introduce drip irrigation and for those in urban areas to implement vertical farming.

The organiser of the event, Musa Baloyi, said he hopes Mpoko’s message encourages the students to establish their own farms after graduation instead of wanting to become farm workers.

“We want to produce farmers. These students must be able to work for themselves and also create employment.

“We are trying to change the concept of wanting employment after graduation. We want our graduates to go into the industry and become farmers and not farm workers,” he said.


Source: Boksburgadvertiser

error: Content is protected !!