The Mpumalanga provincial government has invested more than R13.2 billion in the last four years in the rollout of public infrastructure, says Premier David Mabuza.
Delivering his State of the Province Address on Friday, the Premier said the capital investment has supported the coal, forestry, agriculture and tourism industries.
“Our capital investment in tourism infrastructure, through upgrading of nature reserves and upgrading of tourism routes, has resulted in increased tourism spend. This has grown to R4.6 billion for foreign tourists and R1.8 billion for domestic tourists,” Premier Mabuza said.
Last year, the province introduced the Government School Nutrition Programme which was aimed at revitalising the agriculture sector.
“This programme has created a market platform for our small and emerging farmers to supply fresh produce directly to government institutions such as schools and hospitals.
“To date, a total of 305 smallholder farmers have benefited from the Government Nutrition Programme. This has ensured their sustainability including that of local bakeries as well as the youth-owned transport enterprises,” Premier Mabuza said.
As of 1 June 2018, the provincial government will expand this programme to include the procurement and supply of both dry products and fresh produce.
With the expansion, the programme will cover a significant number schools and hospitals.
“We have opened markets for our farmers to send their produce to Oman and Russia. The volume of exports will increase over time owing to expansion of our bilateral relations with other partners,” Premier Mabuza said.
The province has also increased the participation of youth in agriculture through the government’s flagship Fortune 40 Incubator Programme.
“The African Development Bank projects that in 2030, agribusiness will be worth 1 trillion US Dollars. This means that the future for Africa is in agribusiness,” he said.
The province has commenced with the development of a further 14 farms. Eleven projects are already in production and they are supplying the Government Nutrition Programme.
“We have also intensified government support to poultry production. This is aimed at growing this sector in the face of threats of imports to the industry,” Premier Mabuza said.
The construction of the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market is gaining traction.
“Since inception, we have invested approximately R500 million into this project. We have thus far implemented bulk services infrastructure, creating a total of 800 jobs during this construction phase. This investment will be further supported by three agri-hubs located in Dr JS Moroka, Mkhuhlu and Mkhondo,” the Premier said.
Phase one of the Dr. JS Moroka Agri-hub is complete and the construction of the other two has begun. Construction of the remaining two agri-hubs will be completed this year.
“By late 2019, our province will boast a world-class fresh produce market facility that will enable Mpumalanga farmers, particularly the small-scale farmers, to trade their fresh produce to local and international markets,” Premier Mabuza said.
The province has set aside resources to support the Youth Miners Incubation Programme as part of broadening youth participation and ownership of mining assets.
“In partnership with industry players, we will support our youth in mining to access prospecting and mining rights, and ensure that this sector makes a meaningful contribution to youth development,” Premier Mabuza said.
The province has committed to continue engaging with industry leaders in an effort to attract new investments and create jobs.
He said the province has made progress in eradicating informal settlements and improving access to basic services is commendable.
“Over the last three years, a total of 27 655 housing units have been delivered. A further 27 295 sites have been serviced. We have prioritised the provision of rental programmes. To this end, we have delivered 273 units since 2014 and a further 880 rental units are to be delivered this year,” Premier Mabuza said.
The province also delivered 25 071 title deeds as part of guaranteeing security of land tenure rights.
“We will accelerate the issuing of the remaining 54 000 title deeds in Ehlanzeni and Nkangala District Municipalities before the end of this term," he said. – SAnews.gov.za