Time to grow

From maize to grapes - Agri Parks to en­cour­age farm­ing

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - By Zo­lile Men­zelwa

AN AGRI Park busi­ness plan for the Chris Hani Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has been ap­proved by na­tional gov­ern­ment and is cur­rently await­ing fund­ing ac­cord­ing to Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries Min­is­ter Sen­zeni Zok­wana.

In a press state­ment fol­low­ing Zok­wana’s ad­dress at an Agri Parks meet­ing in East Lon­don on Tues­day, the depart­ment in­di­cated that a study of suit­able crops for iden­ti­fied sites in var­i­ous dis­tricts, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with pro­vin­cial de­part­ments and the Agri­cul­tural Re­search Coun­cil, was un­der­taken.

“An ex­am­ple of this is the Chris Hani Dis­trict (Mu­nic­i­pal­ity), whose Agri Park busi­ness plan has been ap­proved and is in the process of get­ting fund­ing. The crops suit­able for this area are grain crops like maize, sorghum, soy­beans and fruits like grapes, stone fruits and veg­eta­bles.”

An Agri Park (AP) is a net­worked in­no­va­tion sys­tem of agro pro­duc­tion, pro­cess­ing, lo­gis­tics, mar­ket­ing, train­ing and ex­ten­sion ser­vices, lo­cated in dis­trict mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. As a net­work it en­ables a mar­ket-driven com­bi­na­tion and in­te­gra­tion of var­i­ous agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties and ru­ral trans- for­ma­tion ser­vices.

East­ern Cape ru­ral de­vel­op­ment and agrar­ian re­form MEC Mlibo Qo­boshiyane said gov­ern­ment was work­ing with farm­ers, na­tional de­part­ments of agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­eries as well as ru­ral de­vel­op­ment and land re­form sec­tors to ac­cel­er­ate the start of Agri Parks in the prov­ince.

Since the an­nounce­ment by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in Fe­bru­ary dur­ing the State of the Na­tion Ad­dress, both pro­vin­cial and na­tional gov­ern­ment had set aside about R221.5-mil­lion which was cur­rently be­ing used for pri­mary pro­duc­tion while about R137. 9-m was be­ing used for agri­cul­ture in­fras­truc­ture in the cur­rent financial year. Wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and stor­age fa­cil­ity in­fras­truc­ture were risk ar­eas that would be ad­dressed and needed to be in­cor­po­rated into the broader in­fras­truc­ture plans of Agri Parks as th­ese were key.

“To en­sure ac- count­abil­ity and broader stake­holder par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Agri Parks, gov­ern­ment set up Dis­trict Agri Parks Ad­vi­sory in all dis­tricts with terms of ref­er­ence shared with all stake­hold­ers,” Qo­boshiyane said.

In Chris Hani, there will be three Agri Parks in Queen­stown and the Emalahleni and Intsika Yethu dis­tricts, with Queen­stown as one of the six pro­vin­cial gate­ways.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.