Gauteng aims to eliminate hunger

2015-03-12 19:04

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Johannesburg - About 20% of households in Gauteng go to bed hungry because they do not have food or money, Premier David Makhura said on Thursday.

"This is totally unacceptable," he told an agro-processing summit in Kliptown, Soweto.

"Ultimately, our efforts must eliminate hunger and famine by enhancing food security, ensure rising incomes for those involved in agro-processing, create jobs and enhance the competitiveness of this sector."

He said urban agriculture should be promoted in communities so that every piece of land was used to produce food for households.

"Our efforts must also result in the emergence of sustainable black enterprises and black industrialists in the agricultural and agro-processing sector. Black farmers must play a meaningful role in the entire agricultural value chain."

He told the summit the direct contribution of agriculture to the GDP of the province currently stood at 0.4%.

When taking into account the forward and backward linkages in areas such as dairy products, biofuels and essential oils, grain and bakery products, wineries, breweries and distillers, meat, textiles, beverages, wood and furniture, and hides and leather, agriculture contributed about 36% to Gauteng's economy.

"We are equally encouraged by studies that indicate that an initial investment in agriculture has a substantial multiplier effect on many other non-farming sectors of the economy as well as on job creation."

He said the OR Tambo International Airport placed Gauteng at an advantage to become a major exporter of agricultural products, especially processed products.

"We must, therefore, leverage these unique competitive advantages as we seek to position Gauteng as a hub of agro-processing."

Agro-processing

The provincial government had identified agro-processing as one of the strategic levers to drive the programme of re-industrialisation and modernisation.

"As we do our work in this regard we will also be guided by the outcomes of the sectorial study currently being undertaken by the department of economic development.

"The study will help us fully understand agro-processing as one of our targeted sectors, thus guiding our interventions to support this sector."

He said the outcomes of the summit as well as the decisions of the workshops conducted across the province in the build-up to the summit would also guide the province's comprehensive interventions to support agro-processing.

Makhura announced in his state of the province address last month that the southern and western "development corridors" (Sedibeng and West Rand) had been identified as agricultural hubs.

"Our goal is to position Sedibeng as the food basket of the Gauteng city region and the primary anchor of our agritropolis, a modern city economy wherein agriculture and agribusiness play a key role."

As part of strengthening agro-processing in the southern development corridor they were supporting an initiative that would benefit 32 black farmers to supply malt to the Heineken Brewery in Sedibeng.

He said the summit should also help clearly define the dynamic linkages between urban agriculture, in particular, and the township economy revitalisation programme.

Read more on:    david makhura  |  johannesburg  |  health

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