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Friday, 19 April 2024 12:25

Provincial Launch of the Integrated Agricultural Development Programme in Richmond

An opportunity to grow into sustainable commercial business has been afforded to farmers through a holistic integrated programme which will provide mechanization, infrastructure and sector expertise.

Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube led the Provincial Launch of the Integrated Agricultural Development Programme in Richmond on Thursday, 18 April 2024. A total of 1128 tractors worth R17 million and other implements will be distributed to all districts when champion MECs roll out the programme.

During the launch KZN Premier, Mrs Nomusa Dube -Ncube and MEC for KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture and Rural Development (KZN DARD), Mr. Super Zuma, handed over ownership certificates to community projects.

Through this initiative the Provincial government aims at strengthening the ability of farming groups to maintain, take responsibility and care for their assets. Additional mentorship and mechanization training will be provided to community projects that are experiencing challenges in their farming activities to ensure self-sufficiency.

“The integrated programme we are launching today is a solution to mechanization constraints, livestock and crop challenges confronting small-holder and community farming projects. In many areas you still find that farmers lack access to the mechanization needed to increase productivity and crop yields. As government, we then reached a decision to donate assets and transfer ownership to farming groups within the Province,” said MEC Super Zuma.

Premier Dube-Ncube emphasized that food security was a priority for the Province.

“We remain committed to opening the market for our farmers through our RASET programme. We want our farmers to be game changers of the market. We committed during our State of the Province Address to assist farmers to meet demands of the province. We want them to supply major markets and eventually cross borders. We are ready to assist them to meet any criteria. Today we have officially handed over a cheque and equipment to SyaJay Agricultural Services, a project we are most proud of,” said Dube-Ncube.

SyaJay Agricultural Services (Pty) Ltd, is a 100% black-owned business and the two beneficiaries are graduates of the Owen Sithole College of Agriculture. The project was approved for a total funding of R5,6 million from the Agricultural Development Agency (ADA) and 10 hydroponic tunnels, a cooling and irrigation systems have been completed. A mobile pack house will be ready at the end of May.

Sya Ngcobo, one of the beneficiaries, said over and above becoming a sustainable business that is making profit, their vision was of creating an information hub. He said they partly want to function as a demonstration site where small-holder farmers would sharpen their skills and gain crucial sectorial knowledge.

“In many instances you find that some farmers struggle once they have penetrated the market. Even though they may have good quality produce, vegetables do not sell because of incorrect packaging. We want to teach our farmers and give them an opportunity to come and see how it is done from the work we will be doing,” said Ngcobo. 

 

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