Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti is to conduct a site visit of the Westonaria Agri-park in Bekkersdaal on Tuesday, 11th April 2017. Over the last 18 months the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has conducted an assessment of the economic potential of each of the 44 districts in the country. The purpose was to assist government to make informed decisions on which commodities to prioritise in each district.
The establishment of Agri-parks in all 44 district municipalities in South Africa is set to transform the rural economy by among others, creating a market and support for small holder farmers, creating employment opportunities for rural communities, infrastructure development and revitalizing the agriculture and agro-processing value chain.
To ensure their sustainability, government will provide financial and material support for Agri-parks for a period of ten years, after which farmers in the various districts must assume complete control. Agri-parks will serve as important vehicle to take forward the National Development Plan's strategy for rural development, by supporting small-scale agricultural production and stimulating agro-processing in rural areas. The Agri-parks Programme has become the cornerstone of the government's priority to revitalise agriculture and agro-processing value chain, which is also one of the priorities of the Nine-Point Plan. All 44 district municipalities have been included in the said Programme.
The Agri-parks are an integral part, and driver, of the Rural Economic Transformation Model, which focuses on the generation and stimulation of both subsistence and commercial enterprises. 70% Equity in the Agri-parks shall be owned by producers, with the state and other commercial interests anchoring the other 30%. The state's strategic support will diminish over a period of 10 years with producers taking full control. Due consideration was given to, amongst others, Government's Programme of Action, the Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014-2019) and the objectives and the 18 key targets of the National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP's approach of targeting high value commodities (most of which are labour intensive) to stimulate industrial growth will be accompanied by measures that ensure sustainable production on redistributed land and an improved institutional support system.
Members of the media are invited as follows:
Date : 11 April 207
Venue : Westonaria Agri-Park
Time : 09H00
For RSVP and further information regarding the event kindly contact the following officials:
Mr Tshepo Diale: Communication Services
Tel: 012 312 8532
Cell: 071 850 1751
Mr Themba Hleko: Communication Services
Tel (012) 312 8376
Cell: 078 494 4978