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Mpumalanga Outbound Trade and Investment Promotion Mission delegation meets Lycee College of Agriculture and the Seine-et-Marne Chamber of Agriculture

06 October 2010

Brie Comte Robert, France – 35 kms outside Paris, the Mpumalanga Outbound Trade and Investment Promotion Mission met the principal, directors and lecturers of Lycee Agicole, which is an agricultural college, attached to the Ministry of Agriculture in France.

With the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration investigation the possibility of establishing an agricultural college at Marapiyane, discussions took place around the formal and informal study programmes that Lycee Agricole offer, services to the local farming community and commodity organizations, the integration of students into the agricultural industry, agricultural policy in France, funding models for colleges and more

Established in 1881, the main function of Lycee Agricole remains education and training, with formal degree and diploma courses structured for the formation of young agricultural professionals in forestry, animal production, fishing and horticulture. In addition, short courses are offered to farmers, farm workers and other industry professionals that will assist their development in specific areas of work.

Other areas of focus for the college include rural development, research, the integration of students into the labour market, cultivar and breeding development, as well as building international relations. Mr Daniel Prezzin, the head of the College informed the delegation that the agricultural policy of France shapes the structure of training offered at the College and this is seen through the focus of the College on sustainable agriculture.

In line with the French policy of reducing the use of pesticides in agricultural production by 2018, the College is restructuring its training pogrammes towards greater ecologically- friendly production techniques, whereby less natural resources are used, while increasing production on farms. 

After visiting the various facilities at Lycee Agricole, the Mpumalanga delegation travelled to Melun where it met with the Seine- Et- Marne Chamber of Agriculture. The members of the Chamber of Agriculture were led by director Muriel Gozal. Challenges facing agriculture was discussed and common features of the agricultural industries in France and Mpumalanga was discussed and proposals were tabled for areas of closer cooperation. The meeting highlighted the fact that France is the leading country for agricultural produce in the European Union and that agricultural produce contribute close to 25% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of France. Mpumalanga can therefore gain valuable insight from France in relation to job creation, technology and innovation as well as logistics and market support.

The delegation accompanying the MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration (DARDLA), Mr Meshack Malinga included the Head of Department of DARDLA, Ms Nelisiwe Sithole; Mr RS Tshukudu, the Head of Department of Economic Development Environment and Tourism; Mr Sithembele Kelembe, the Agricultural Attachè from the South African Embassy in Paris; as well as Mr Gijima Dladla from the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA).

Issued by: Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Land Affairs, Mpumalanga Provincial Government