Sweet harvest for sugar-cane growers

2016-03-10 06:00
PHOTO: supplied KZN MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Cyril Xaba (right) and South African Sugar Association vice-chairman Suresh Naidoo assists the Sizweleni community to plough the sugar-cane land.

PHOTO: supplied KZN MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Cyril Xaba (right) and South African Sugar Association vice-chairman Suresh Naidoo assists the Sizweleni community to plough the sugar-cane land.

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THE MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development KZN Cyril Xaba (KZNDARD) in partnership with the South African Sugar Association (Sasa) recently launched the R14 million sugar-cane project in the area of Qoloqolo in the Umzumbe Municipality.

This project is the department’s heed to the call of the people of Qoloqolo, which they made to MEC Xaba on his visit to the area in 2014.

When Xaba arrived in 2014 he realised the area was rich in sugar cane as a commodity and most of the plantations where owned and controlled by the community-based co-operatives. This prompted government to seek solutions for interventions for the support these small cane growers.

The R14 million funding from KZNDARD will see the fencing of 70kms on communal land, Ratoon management of 1 207 hectares to nine land reform projects and cane expansion of 102 ha land to five small-scale grower co-operatives.

The MEC was impressed and inspired by these small- scale growers when visiting one of the community-owned sugar-cane plantation.

“This is what I constantly advocate about to all farmers in the province, working together for the betterment of the lives of the people of this area. This is a clear sign that together we can do more,” he said.

Zebron Phewa of Sizweleni Co-operative couldn’t hold back the tears of joy as the MEC arrived to view the work they are doing on their land.

“This is the happiest day of my life. I’m used to farming directly from my pocket, which hindered my growth and further impacted on the livelihood of my family, now government has heard our cries and they are here to answer,” he said.

The progress and unity that the MEC saw here lead him to further commit to avail funds of up to R55 Million for the growth of this project.

“You must remember that agriculture is a science and a business and with government support we can ensure the expansion and development of a progressive value chain in this area by these farmers,” he said.

- Supplied.

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