MEC Qoboshiyane allocates almost R2 billion to revive Eastern Cape Agriculture

MARCH 18, 2015

Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, on Wednesday afternoon presented a R2 billion budget to revive agriculture in the Eastern Cape during his Department’s 2015/16-budget vote and policy speech at the Eastern Cape Legislature in Bhisho.

Policy and budget vote speeches detailing the implementation of the programmes of department are tabled to the Provincial Legislature by MECs annually with portfolio committees using them to oversight performance of each department to ensure delivery.

"The Eastern part of the Province is the best suitable for cropping hence in Alfred Nzo, 9 600ha of maize alone will invest about R30, 720 million maize production," MEC Qoboshiyane told the Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs).

"The O.R. Tambo district will receive R35, 200 million to cover 11 000ha of maize. Homestead food gardens totaling to 7 212 will be provided with production inputs across the Province.

"Though Amathole and Sarah Baartman are also crop-producing areas, they are the citrus and deciduous fruit hubs in the province."

He said that his department is supporting the smallholder citrus growers with inputs for R4 million in the next financial year and will also provide infrastructure support to revitalise the aging Ripplemead Citrus Pack House in Peddie to the tune of R9, 2 million and another R8 million to assist farmers with production and orchard upgrades to cover phase one.

"The Department shall support 120 Citrus farmers with production inputs and create an estimated 162 permanent and 1041 seasonal jobs. This support will enable Ripplemead to trade directly with the European Union as against the current scenario where they have to struggle accessing International markets," MEC Qoboshiyane said.

"The Department shall also support the chicory industry with a budget of R2 million in addition to the current R400 000 provided this year, towards inputs supply so that the farmers in the area can grab the opportunity brought by private sector such as Nestle South Africa and others."

He said that such partnerships guarantee market at the doorstep of chicory producing farmers. Other commodities that will be supported include deciduous fruits, macadamia and tomatoes.

"The deciduous fruit value chain at Langkloof in Koukamma Municipality shall be supported with R6,5 million including upgrades to cold storage and packing facilities and orchard infrastructure and production inputs benefiting 864 people.

"Consolidation of pineapple production initiatives in Ngqushwa receives an allocation of R4 million while the tomato production in Buffalo City Metro is supported with R5,3 million that will create more than 100 jobs," MEC Qoboshiyane said.

"Out of the budgeted R1, 97 billion, about R899 419 million has been set aside for service delivery programmes."

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