Ten Agri-parks ‘a brilliant concept’

2015-09-14 12:49

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal will receive funding of R450 million for 10 Agri-parks, said Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti.

He said in an address to farming organisations, district mayors and traditional leaders in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday that the province will have the most number of Agri-parks compared with other provinces, and that R45 million will be allocated for each Agri-park.

The government’s definition of an Agri-park is a farmer-controlled entity that serves as a catalyst around which rural industrialisation is planned to take place, according to a statement. The aim is for the park to provide a network of contacts between producers, markets and processors, as well as infrastructure to process agricultural products.

Nkwinti said the Agri-parks will be supported by government for a minimum period of 10 years to ensure economic sustainability.

He said the Agri-parks could create up to 300 000 new small scale producers as well as 145 000 new jobs in agro-processing. “Provincial departments and district municipalities must link their development strategies … so as to have synergy that will ensure the success of these programmes” he said.

Roland Henderson of KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union said in a statement: “this is a brilliant concept that is going to see us at commercial farmers fusing skills, resources and knowledge for a common goal ensuring food security and merging the two economies”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  agriculture

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