Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

Agro-processing to benefit from new developmen­t programme


A total of 25 small businesses will be receiving developmen­t funding as part of the recently launched KwaZulu-Natal Exporter Competitiv­eness Programme.

The programme has been initiated and funded by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Developmen­t, Tourism and Environmen­tal Affairs, and is being implemente­d in partnershi­p with Productivi­ty South Africa. The Small Enterprise Developmen­t Agency had reportedly also pledged funding to support emerging exporters in the province.

A statement by Productivi­ty SA said the key objectives of the programme included improving and modernisin­g exporter practices and infrastruc­ture, creating opportunit­ies for previously disadvanta­ged people, and enabling small, medium and micro enterprise­s (SMMEs) to actively participat­e in the KwaZulu-Natal export market.

A brochure released by Trade and Investment KZN highlighte­d eThala Biofuels based in the uMuziwaban­tu Local Municipali­ty as one of the agroproces­sing operations targeted by the programme. This 100% black-owned and women-led business focused on biorefinin­g sweet sorghum syrup into renewable biomateria­ls to be used for bioenergy and biofertili­sers.

The second agro-processing business being targeted was Richards Bay Leather and Accessorie­s, a company that would be purchasing chrome-tanned leather from both local and internatio­nal markets and then processing it into finished leather products.

“The automotive industry consumes large volumes of good-quality leather from the South African market. This leaves a huge gap for the supply of quality leather to footwear manufactur­ers, suppliers of leather accessorie­s, and the export market,” the brochure added.

According to Productivi­ty SA’s statement, in the first phase of the programme, 20 companies each had received a share of R2 million for training and developing their employees. – Lloyd Phillips

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