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North-West University Targets Collaborative Strategies for Agricultural Progress in South Africa

South Africa is entering a recession, and the continuous fall of parastatals like Eskom and Transnet is exacerbating the country's economic troubles. Agriculture is one of the many sectors under suffocating restraints, and it is also one of the most crucial.

Shivam Dwivedi
South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) has reported that South Africa is facing a severe shortage of veterinary experts
South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) has reported that South Africa is facing a severe shortage of veterinary experts

The North-West University (NWU) is committed to finding solutions to the problems that our agricultural sector faces through various initiatives such as a recently signed memorandum of understanding between the university and the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (representing the Potchefstroom College of Agriculture and the Taung Agricultural College) that is aimed at offering a framework for cooperation.

"A robust, thriving agricultural industry is critical to the country's current and future development," says Prof Bismark Tyobeka, principal and vice-chancellor of the NWU. "Food security, or rather food insecurity, is a worldwide issue." The Northwest University's Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences has nationally and internationally recognized researchers who are collaborating with stakeholders across the country to help grow the agricultural and Agro-processing sectors in order to maximize opportunities for food production, storage, and distribution."

To compound the problem, the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) has reported that South Africa is facing a severe shortage of veterinary experts, owing in part to the scarcity of institutions that provide comprehensive veterinary training.

According to Tyobeka, "the number of registered veterinarians in South Africa fell from 3 718 in 2020 to 3 483 in 2021, according to the South African Veterinary Council."

This, according to reports, is why we are dependent on vets from neighbouring countries. This condition, of course, poses a threat to our food security and productivity. This is an opportunity for us to investigate the expansion of our animal health programmes and the establishment of a School of Veterinary Sciences that can serve the North West, Northern Cape, Free State, and sections of Gauteng."

Tyobeka anticipates that the university's ties with the agricultural industry will continue to grow: "On my own behalf and on behalf of the NWU, I would like to thank the agricultural sector for providing what can only be characterised as a vital service to the country." Your hard work and sweat, commitment and knowledge are the lifeblood of our country. You may always count on our assistance."

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