Breweries partner KZN maize farmers

2010-10-26 00:00

THE MEC for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development, Lydia Johnson, has called on people in the province to become actively involved in agriculture.

Speaking during the launch of the yellow maize partnership between the department and South African Breweries (SAB) in Bergville at the weekend, Johnson said there are unlimited agricultural opportunities that could transform the lives of people in the province.

The yellow maize initiative is aimed at helping previously disadvantaged farmers to become commercial maize farmers. More than 250 emerging farmers are expected to benefit.

The agreement states that SAB will buy 5 000 tons of yellow maize in the first year of the project and the quantity will gradually increase.

At least 1 500 hectares of high- potential land has been identified in Okhahlamba, Indaka and Umtshezi. The maize production potential for these areas is estimated to be four to six tons per hectare.

“The launch of this partnership is a tangible outcome, which will definitely change the lives of our farmers here for the better,” said Johnson.

Of the partnership she said: “I see this as a win-win situation for everybody — our farmers, SAB and product consumers.

“Although SAB is in the business of making and selling alcoholic beverages, some of their products heavily rely on agricultural crops like yellow maize.

“Now our farmers here will supply the much-needed tons of yellow maize to the SAB processing plant in Johannesburg to make sure that production continues and that those who imbibe these beverages are never short of supply.”

She said her department has been consistently encouraging and supporting emerging farmers to advance their skills and to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, which is a prerequisite of the agri-business sector.

“This is a milestone achievement for our emerging black farmers in the province.

“Most of KZN is rural, and agriculture is the cornerstone of rural development.

“It is therefore without doubt that opportunities for agricultural investments are unlimited.

“SAB is now exploiting these opportunities and this will transform our communities for the good,” said Johnson.

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