Rural development and land reform without research support will breed hunger in South Africa, and a hungry man is an angry man. Good food gives people good dispositions.
These were the sentiments of Dr Moshe Swartz of the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development in South Africa. He was a keynote speaker at the Agricultural Research Council field day, at Roodeplaat, Pretoria, during GCARD3.
Dr Swartz believes that funding research that supports their outcomes is “the right thing to do”. For him, rural development is not only agriculture, but is the leverage point for everything that has to do with the well being of rural communities. Research projects need to be designed to achieve outcomes from the beginning. Research may draw on stocks of existing knowledge but new knowledge is needed to address the ever-changing challenges facing rural communities. New cultivars or breeds that withstand the current climatic conditions need to be continually developed.
The well being of rural communities depends on their ability to produce their own food. We should be able to produce our own eggs, vegetables, herbs and raise chickens, for our dignity. Those in rural areas do not have dignity if they must buy all their food from retailers. Fresh is best when it is food you have picked or processed yourself.
Dr Swartz expects research to be linked to those who use it. Food is farmed by ordinary people all over the world who need ordinary research with high-impact outputs. Link our agriculture researchers with those who prepare our food and with medical practitioners. Good food gives people good dispositions. We need research that positions us for good rural futures.
Blogpost by Nkhane Nengovhela, #GCARD3 Social Reporter – nkhane.baldwin8(at)gmail.com
Illustration courtesy P.Casier/CCAFS
This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Global Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, 5-8 April 2016. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.