Limpopo agri dept to create thousands of jobs

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Polokwane - Limpopo's Agriculture Department will spend part of its R1.4 billion budget to create jobs through their revamped tea estates. 

Department spokesman Kenny Mathivha said the plans were outlined in the 2011/2012 budget speech recently tabled by MEC Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba in Lebowakgomo.

"The MEC announced in her speech that department plans to create more than 11 185 jobs, many of which will be at tea estates," said Mathivha on Tuesday.

Mathivha said the Makgoba Tea Project in Tzaneen, which was being revamped, would create about 2 000 jobs while 2 500 jobs would be retained at Tshivhase Tea Estate in Thohoyandou.

He said a further 2 400 jobs would be created through irrigation projects while another 1 182 would be created through land care projects.

He said the remaining 3 103 would be spread on livestock, poultry and some crop production projects, land reform, mechanisation and internship programmes. 

"The department will support farmers in order to increase production in the agricultural sector. Six hundred grain farmers, horticulture and white meat farmers will receive support from R40 million," Mathivha said.

Mathivha said about R8 million would be spent on the development of farmers. A further R13 million was allocated for vaccination and dipping of livestock belonging to communal farmers. 

"From the same allocation, crush pens will be constructed to ease handling of animals," he said.

He said Letsatsi-Duba applauded the Limpopo Industrial Development Corporation's Nguni Cattle Development Programme for reducing poverty in rural areas as it has also attracted some role players in the beef production industry. 

The role players include Pick n Pay, Angus Beef South Africa, Beefcor and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).

He said Nguni cows would be crossed with Angus bulls to produce beef of a unique quality and that South Africa would benefit from the outcomes of the ARC research.

Spokesperson for Progress Milling in Polokwane, Masenya Masenya, welcomed the department's plans.

"The presentation of the budget was simple and straight-forward with no rhetoric this time. We welcome the R8 million on farmer development," said Masenya. 
He said as agro-processors they were ready to offer market assistance and skills transfer to farmers.

"We are available to assist many farmers who are interested in agro-processing," he said.