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ACTION ON THE AGRI-PAKS FRONT

ISSUED BY KZNDARD

DATE:   September 12, 2015

ACTION ON THE AGRI-PAKS FRONT: MINISTER CALLS FOR COLLABORATION FROM ALL SPHERES OF GOVERNMENT IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGRI-PARKS.

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti with the KZN Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Cyril Xaba today took the opportunity to address farming organizations, District Mayors and Traditional leaders from all over the Province.

In line with the 2015 State of the Nation address President Zuma highlighted that Agriculture is a catalyst for growth and food security and R2 Billion would be set aside for the establishment of Agri-Park. The SONA2015 clearly states that some of the key interventions would be the promotion of the establishment of Agri-parks in each of the 27 poorest district municipalities including some in KZN to transform rural communities.

Agri-parks are farmer-controlled entities that serve as a catalyst around which rural industrialization will take place. They serve to provide a network of contacts between producers, markets and processors while also providing physical infrastructure required for processing of agricultural products. The Agri-park approach includes the selection and training of smallholder farmers also the selection of farms for placement, incubation and training of unemployed agricultural graduates and other agro-entrepreneurs. These Agri-parks will be supported by Government for a minimum period of 10 years to ensure economic sustainability.

The provision of these Agri-parks seeks to promote growth of the smallholder sector by contributing to the 300 000 new small-scale producers as well as to the 145 000 new jobs in agro-processing as set out in the National Growth Plan (NGP). R45 million has been allocated for the establishment of each Agri-park and ten Districts have been identified for Agri-Parks in the KwaZulu-Natal to the tune of R450 million making it the Province with the most  allocated Agri-Parks.

Minister Nkwinti said this programme is a catalyst in the socio-economic development of rural communities. The Minister continued in his statement by saying “ this programme requires that National, Provincial and Municipal spheres of Government take ownership of it, Provincial Departments and District Municipalities must link their development strategies and I.D.P’s to the National Government plans so as to have synergy that will ensure the success of these programmes” he said. The Minister also said that due to the fact that 70% of the Agri-parks belongs to the farmers it automatically means that the farmers have got the most power and responsibility in the success of the Agri-parks.

MEC Xaba fully supported the Minister by saying, “Agri-parks are a spring board for Rural Economic transformation and it is for our Department (KZNDARD) to see that land that has been successfully claimed by communities doesn’t lie fallow but rather the necessary support by the Department is injected. This will see the emerging sector developing into the value chain and

participate in agro-processing so they can play an integral role in agricultural economy in the Province and the country ” he said.

Both the emerging and commercial farmers were happy and very welcoming of the programme,  Mrs. Makhozi Xakaza who is the Chairperson of W.A.R.D said “ as emerging farmers we are very happy that the Minister and the MEC has provide us with this opportunity we will surely grab it with both hands” and Mr. Roland Henderson of KwaNalu said “this is a brilliant concept that is going to see us at commercial farmers fusing skills, resources and knowledge for a common goal ensuring food security and merging the two economies” he said

—END—

For more info contact:

Ms Linda Page

Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

Cell: 083460 4482

Email: vuyani.nkasayi@drdlr.gov.za

Mr. Lelethu Manentsa

Department of Agriculture Rural Development KZN

Cell: 071 492 5716

Email: lelethu01@gmail.com/ lelethu.manentsa@kzndard.gov.za