The government of South Africa has decided to spend US$33.8mn for the establishment of agri-parks in the KwaZulu-Natal region.
Gugile Nkwinti, minister of rural development and land reform, announced that ten sites have been identified for the establishment of agri-parks and that they are in different stages of development. “Each district has been reviewed and commodity options have been selected, which takes into account land capacity, what is actually farmed in the area and which commodity is more likely to assist with the set objectives of increased production,” said Nkwinti.
The aim of the parks is to provide a network of contacts between producers, markets and processors, as well as infrastructure to process agricultural products. According to the ministet, the government will support the parks for a period of ten years to ensure economic sustainability, following which farmers are expected to take complete control of the parks.
A working group, comprised of representatives from relevant government departments has been established to deal with all regulatory requirements, such as environmental impact assessments, pertaining to agri-parks.
According to Nkwinti, the roll out of the agri-Parks is expected to create 90,000 jobs in the value addition activities. “Of critical importance to the success of all agri-parks are production plans, market linkages and skills development which we plan on completing within the next three to six months,” he said.
South Africa already has agri-parks in all 44 districts across the country.