Oudtshoorn, 26 July 2016 – The Agri-Park programme is one of the key interventions of government. The Programme is led by the Department of Land Affairs and Rural Development and supported by Department of Agriculture and Provincial Government. After receiving numerous submissions, Oudtshoorn has been identified as the site for the Agripark in the Eden District – by the lead Departments.
“It is a networked innovation system of agro-production, processing, logistics, marketing, training and extension services, located in a district municipality. As a network, it enables a market-driven combination and integration of various agricultural activities and rural transformation services,” said Mr. Kam Chetty.
“The programme is aimed at supporting small-holder farmers through the provision of capacity building, mentorship, farm infrastructure, extension services, production inputs and mechanization inputs. In addition to this smallholder farmers will also gain access to markets for their produce.”
The objectives of the Agri-park include:
The Agri-park will comprise:
Oudtshoorn Municipality has engaged with the Department of Rural Development and the Department of Agriculture (both National and Provincial), who is finalising the business plan for the Agri-park. A number of related programmes are being developed.
Over the next few years, the programme is designed to support or create at least 50 Black (Coloured and Black African) farmers in the Oudtshoorn and Eden district. Preference will be given to creating commercial scale farmers. The agri-incubator will develop and support these farmers over a next ten-year period. In the first five years emphaisis will be given to technical training and meeting productivity targets. In the latter half, the participating farmers will be given access to the land provided they meet the prescribed training and productivity targets.
The incubator will comprise:
The municipality hopes to identify the beneficiary farmers, and launch the programme in the next three to six months.
Dutch Farmers Support Programme
The municipality has developed a programme with Dutch farmers and the Alphen aan den Rijn municipality. The programme will create a market for agricultural products that are sourced from farmers in Oudtshoorn.
The agreement includes a programme that will provide both training as well as targeted market access. Ten products have been identified for the first phase, and a Dutch team was in Oudtshoorn two weeks ago to finalise the production and market plans. This is a brilliant opportunity for youth in the Oudtshoorn municipal area, to both gain skills in agriculture and business skills.
The programme is in total expected to create over 1500 jobs in the district in the medium term. National government has allocated over two billion Rands for 44 districts. Oudtshoorn, is well poised to get significant investment from this fund, and will assist in transforming the economy into a sustainable and vibrant one.
The proposed plan will in addition create agri-processing businesses, to add value to the agricultural products. This will include the redesigning the current unused liquorice plant to provide liquidising facilities for other viable products; processing of honey bush tea, and micro-tannery.
“The municipality is bullish on these initiatives, and believes that this is critical to the socio-economic recovery of the greater Oudtshoorn area, and to ensure that this builds an inclusive economy,” Chetty concluded.Last published 26 July 2016