Cash boost for rad­i­cal agri trans­for­ma­tion

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO BUSINESS - Tam­lyn Jolly

THANKS to a mas­sive cash in­jec­tion, KZN co-oper­a­tives and small busi­ness en­ter­prises are set to ben­e­fit greatly from a programme seek­ing to im­prove the prospects for small-scale farm­ers to par­tic­i­pate in the food pro­duc­tion value chain.

The an­nounce­ment was made by KZN MEC for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Tourism and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, Sihle Zikalala, dur­ing a re­cent en­trepreneur­ship sum­mit.

Zikalala said his depart­ment had set aside R57-mil­lion for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Rad­i­cal Agrar­ian So­cioE­co­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion (RASET) programme.

RASET strives to solve the so­cio-eco­nomic chal­lenges of ru­ral and town­ship com­mu­ni­ties by em­pow­er­ing them to cre­ate their own wealth, which in turn would pro­vide jobs, erad­i­cate poverty and re­dress eco­nomic im­bal­ances.

‘We have set aside R57-mil­lion for RASET and we have also forged a part­ner­ship with the Spar su­per­mar­ket group to pro­vide tech­ni­cal and back of­fice sup­port for ru­ral shops, as well as serve as pen­sion and so­cial grant pay points,’ said Zikalala.

‘Our district de­vel­op­ment agen­cies have also been al­lo­cated a re­volv­ing fa­cil­ity, which will en­able them to pay farm­ers who pro­vide them with pro­duce for the RASET programme.

‘De­tails of how our emerg­ing farm­ers will ben­e­fit from this fund­ing will be un­veiled dur­ing our bud­get speech in the next few weeks.’

He said the depart­ment was also ne­go­ti­at­ing with TVET col­leges in the prov­ince to pro­vide train­ing to SMMEs and co-oper­a­tives in busi­ness man­age­ment and co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance.

‘Dur­ing this fi­nan­cial year, it is the depart­ment’s tar­get to have

1 166 small en­ter­prises ben­e­fit­ting from this part­ner­ship agree­ment.

‘We are also ne­go­ti­at­ing with the KZN Small En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Agency (SEDA) to pro­vide men­tor­ship sup­port pro­grammes to these SMMEs, and we are op­ti­mistic the agree­ments will be reached soon.’

KZN MEC for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Tourism and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Sihle Zikalala

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