MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane launches Rural Enterprise Development hub at Mqanduli


Eastern Cape Agrarian Reform MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, on Thursday launched a Rural Enterprise Development (Red) hub at Mqanduli in the OR Tambo District Municipality.

The Red hub programme is government's key rural development approach driven by the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency, which supports local co-operatives with access to finance, mechanisation and selling of produce to retail markets for the benefit of all members of co-operatives.

The main purpose of the Red hubs is to assist in poverty alleviation.

During the launch, MEC Qoboshiyane was taken through the operations of the RED hub from soil preparation, crop planting, harvesting, milling process and packaging using last season’s maize harvest from 911 hectares.

MEC Qoboshiyane also handedover 6 tractors, (four 80 kw with two 70 kw) with all implements (disc, planter, strip-till, boom sprayer, fertilizer applicator), x1 ton bakkie, four row self-propelled combined harvester, tractor trailers, to the Mqanduli Secondary Co-operative made up of 19 primary co-operatives.

He said his department has engaged and trained local people to participate in the Red hub, to ensure that the implements do not become white elephants.

The Treasury has donated about R1 million to ensure the Red hubs are fully functional.

Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency CEO Thozi Gwanya has encouraged co-operatives to make use of the milling plant in order to boost local economic development.

Currently there are 6 co-operatives participating in the Mqanduli RED hub with the number expected to increase to cover all other members in the first five-year period.

At the present moment, the secondary co-operative’s main focus is maize production with plans to diversify to other crops at a later stage.

The Mqanduli RED Hub plans to produce Super maize meal, samp, hominy chop, which is the by-product to be used for livestock feeding with the first produce expected to hit the shelves next month.

Photo caption: MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane durin the launch of the Rural Enterprise Development hub at Mqanduli. Photo via Facebook.