THE AGRI-PARKS PROGRAMME
The establishment of Agri-Parks in all 44 district municipalities in South Africa is set to transform the rural economy by creating employment opportunities, infrastructure development and revitalising the agriculture and agro-processing value chain.
It is important to note that the agricultural industry in general has responded positively to the development of Agri-Parks and the department is working closely with various stakeholders in this sector.
At present a number of key processes are being finalised, including business plans based on sound feasibility studies that have been completed in some cases, while others are being revised and finalised. Agri-Parks will serve as important vehicles to take forward the National Development Plan’s strategy for rural development, by supporting small-scale agricultural production and stimulating agro-processing in rural areas. They are a strategic intervention that will kick start Rural Economic Transformation and encourage growth of the smallholder farmer sector in the areas that have seen slow growth due to lack of resources, including markets for the sale of produce, livestock, skills and infrastructure.
THREE ARE OPERATIONAL ALREADY:
These are: Ncora Agri-Park in the Eastern Cape, Springbokpan in the North West and the Westonaria Agri-Park in the West Rand. There are currently 11 agri-hubs in the 44 districts where construction is taking place. These include:
• In Butterworth an abattoir is under construction. Farmers in the surrounding areas are being mobilised to supply red meat to the abattoir.
• In Ncora fencing and irrigation infrastructure has been constructed and two dairies are operational. The milking parlor on average milks 1 800 cows twice daily at each diary. In addition, the farmers have mobilised funding from the
Jobs Fund for the silo, mill and storage facilities. The retail outlet for milk is also being established and the next phase of processing will commence in the 2017/18 financial year. The projects at Ncora support 10 primary and one secondary cooperative. Each primary cooperative consists on average of 100 farmers.
• In Thaba Nchu the abattoir has been upgraded, the access road has been re-gravelled and the boundary fencing has been completed.
• The Springfontein agri-hub in the Xhariep district is being developed and the fencing and water connections have been completed. The department is working with the Department of Environmental Affairs, the district and the Free State government on the establishment of a game abattoir in the agri-hub in the coming year.
• The Westonaria facility includes state of the art vertical hydroponic tunnels, as well as a pack house and training facility amongst other supporting infrastructure. There is currently one enterprise and one cooperative farming in the 20 available tunnels on the site. The cooperative comprises of people with disabilities. The department will mobilise another 300 farmers in the area in the coming financial year.
• In Bushbuckridge, a pack house and cold storage facility will become fully operational in the 2017/18 financial year to support 2 000 farmers that are producing in the area.
• In Dr JS Moroka municipality, within the Nkangala District Municipality, a fresh produce market is complete and the facility will become fully operational in the 2017/18 financial year. Fresh produce to the fresh produce market will be supplied by 1150 farmers.
• In the Capricorn agri-hub the provincial government has
THE DEPARTMENT’S PROGRAMMES AND PLANS THAT ARE IN LINE
WITH SOLVING SOUTH AFRICA’S TRIPLE CHALLENGES OF POVERTY, UNEMPLOYMENT AND INEQUALITY
completed the Raletjena pack house and dryer for a black farmer. This processing and packaging facility sees the establishment of one of our first “black industrialists” as a result of the Agri-Parks programme.
• The Nwanedi pack house is under construction and upon completion in the current financial year, it will provide support to 150 farmers.
• In Ceres we have completed the upgrade of the roads and electricity supply. We have also recently purchased an abattoir, which will assist the surrounding farmers with value addition and market access.
• In Springbokpan 3 950 ha of sunflower and maize were harvested and taken to the silos. To date 249 jobs have been created and 61 farmers have been supported in the area.
Policy Framework on Strengthening of Relative Rights (SRR) of People Working the Land, commonly known as the 50/50 policy
IMPROVED FOOD SECURITY
The Strengthening of Relative Rights of People Working the Land is one exciting example of inclusive agricultural development: the state purchases a stake in the agricultural enterprise on behalf of the farmworkers residing and working on the farm. The workers and the former employer (farmer) become equal partners in the farming enterprise.
In 2015 the piloting of the initiative was announced during the State of the Nation Address by the State President who called for the piloting of 50 projects by 2019. The department signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Empowerment Fund to become the implementing agent for the programme. To date:
• 91 project proposals have been received
• 5 were declined/withdrawn
• 86 proposals are at different stages of implementation; and
18 prioritised for implementation by NEF in 2017/18
• 20 projects have been approved of which 15 have been
implemented and transferred
• Of the 15 farms transferred, four farms were transferred in the
year ending March 2016 to the state and these are in: I. Eastern Cape (Birbury farm)
II. Free State (Oatlands, Diamond and Kalkput farms) amounting to just over 2 600 hectares at the cost of R36-million
PROGRESS TO DATE:
In the financial year 2016/2017, 10 of the 15 commercial farms have been transferred to:
• Eastern Cape (Klein Monden Rivier)
• KWAZULU-NATAL (Westcliff, Paard Fontein and Hoghton),
• North West (Stars Away – Tweefontein 58, Willowpark 41,
Olivenbult 61 and Stinkhoutboom 43)
• Western Cape (Solms Delta and 803 Worcester) amounting to
over 8 252 hectares at the value of R56 million.
• Gauteng: In the financial year 2017/2018, one farm transferred in (Marolien), amounting to R31 million – benefiting 105 beneficiaries at 65 hectares.
There are 606 farm workers that have benefited from these acquisitions on 11 303 hectares at a cost of R325 million.
The acquisition of equity by farm workers must be seen to be a fundamental game changer in the agricultural sector. It introduces co-management of the farm based on relative equity holdings and the capacity of each participant in production and management of the agricultural enterprise.
This initiative contributes towards government’s efforts at revitalisation and transformation of the rural economy through the social and economic empowerment of farm workers and communities. As a consequence of this programme, farm workers and dwellers will no longer have reason to fear the spectre of evictions because land tenure will have been secured.
The One Household One Hectare (1HH1HA) Projects Summary Smallholder farmer development and support (technical, financial, infrastructure) for agrarian transformation.
The department initiated a land development programme called One Household One Hectare in the year 2015 targeting state-owned farms, pro-active land acquisition (LAS) farms and communal land with the purpose of creating rural smallholder producers at household level to ensure food security, reduce poverty, sustainable employment, broaden the skills base and to support the Agri-Parks programme.
Currently, the department has granted approval for the 158 sites benefiting 5 734 households across the country and the minister launched six sites: three in Eastern Cape, one in KWAZULU-NATAL and two in Mpumalanga, at the value of R30.4 million, benefitting 689 households: fourteen in Gorah, 221 in Krugerpost, 373 in Mantusini, 18 in Westwood, 41 in KwaMashabalane and 22 in Libhaba CPA.