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R65 million access to market deal for local farmers
​EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede and City offi cials
announced the R65 million access to market deal for
local farmers to supply their goods during the Access
to Markets Launch on 3 April. The City’s progressive
Agribusiness Programme was met with approval by
local farmers.
TO FURTHER drive radical economic transformation in the agriculture sector, the Municipality’s Agribusiness Department has secured a R65 million access to market deal in order for local farmers to supply their products to government departments.

EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede announced the ground-breaking news, which was met with resounding applause, at the eThekwini Agribusiness Access to Markets Launch held at the Durban City Hall on 3 April.

Mayor Gumede said the R65 million contract, to run over three years, was secured from the provincial departments of Education, Health and Social Development as well as the Municipality’s soup kitchen programme. “This follows an investment of over R20 million to roll-out the Municipality’s Agribusiness Programme in March 2017 to provide capacity building, infrastructure support and other opportunities.
We are now moving ahead with the second phase of the programme which is access to market to ensure sustainability of the programme as well as creating further employment,” she said. Mayor Gumede said the programme has already created more than 1 500 jobs in the agriculture sector through cooperatives since its inception.

Outlining future plans to further transform the sector, Mayor Gumede said: “We have invested in the horizontal integration of the agri-value chain. We are currently constructing a nursery in uMzinyathi for a cooperative. This nursery will produce about 100 000 seedlings per cycle to be supplied to local farmers and the Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation Programme. Three more youth nurseries are planned for construction before the end of the year in other regions.” The City is also in negotiations with Coniglio for the establishment of Rabbit Hubs.

The Municipality will lease accommodation to qualifying local businesses to set up rabbit operations in order to participate in the lucrative rabbit market which is highly exportorientated. In addition, negotiations are at an advanced stage with commercial partners which will assist with operations of the Cato Ridge Chicken Farm. Finally, tunnel farms expansion of a female black-owned cooperative is underway in Ottawa.

Mayor Gumede concluded saying the Municipality is currently developing an eThekwini Agri-Master Plan which will unveil the grand strategy for the resuscitation of the food and beverage sector in eThekwini.

nonduduzo.ngcongo@durban.gov.za 
WEATHER

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