Government to increase agro-processing exports

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pretoria - Government will enhance agro-processing exports which have been growing rapidly, to new markets in the African continent and China, says President Jacob Zuma.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address on Thursday evening, he said the country has concluded agricultural trade protocols for the export of South African maize and apples to China.

“The export of apples alone is projected to generate five hundred million rand in foreign exchange over three years,” he said.

Agricultural Policy Action Plan

He said agriculture is a catalyst for growth and food security.

“We are working with the private sector to develop an Agricultural Policy Action Plan which will bring one million hectares of under-utilised land into full production over the next three years.”

Agri-Parks initiative

Among key interventions this year, the President said the country will promote the establishment of agri-parks or cooperatives and clusters in each of the 27 poorest district municipalities to transform rural economies. 

An initial funding of R2 billion has been made available for the Agri-Park initiative.

Success of emerging farmers

He said a good story to tell in agriculture is the success of some of the country’s emerging farmers and smallholders.

“In the Vhembe District Municipality in Musina, the Limpopo, government has supported the Nwanedi Cluster comprising 300 farmers growing vegetables on just over 1 300 hectares for commercial purposes.

“The Cluster has already created more than 2 500 jobs as vegetable farming is highly labour-intensive,” President Zuma said.

He said government has identified agriculture as a key job driver, with a target for the agricultural sector to create a million jobs by 2030.

“Government will provide comprehensive support to smallholder farmers by speeding up land reform and providing technical, infrastructural and financial support.” 

Support will be provided to communities as well to engage in food production and subsistence farming to promote food security, in line with the Fetsa Tlala food production programme.

The National Development Plan (NDP) proposes a multifaceted approach: creating more jobs through agricultural development, based on effective land reform and the growth of irrigated agriculture and land production.

It also proposes to developing industries such as agro-processing, tourism, fisheries and small enterprises where potential exists. - SAnews.gov.za

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