Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti is expected to conduct a site inspection at the Agri Park project in Springbokpan, in the North West this week.
The department is working with various stakeholders, including organised agriculture, to establish 27 Agri Parks across the country in order to kick-start rural economic transformation in the identified areas.
Three Agri Parks have been identified for the province of North West.
“The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has been mandated to create sustainable rural communities across the country through its Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. To achieve this mandate, the department embarked on developing a fresh approach to rural development,” said the department in a statement.
The department said agriculture was a catalyst for growth and food security.
The Agri Parks are expected to be linked directly to the identified production areas that support communities, smallholder farmers and emerging black farmers.
An initial funding of R2 billion has been made available for the initiative, of which 1% will go into capacity building especially in municipalities.
“We will also be identifying smallholder farmers, state farms and communities in close proximity of the identified Agri Parks, to support them with on farm infrastructure, extension services, production inputs and mechanization inputs, aligned to APAP relevant commodities,” said the department.
Minister Nkwinti said government was concerned that South Africa was increasingly relying on the imports of crops such as wheat and livestock products such as poultry, while agriculture increasingly relies on the imports of inputs for example fertiliser, feed and mechanisation.
“We need to look at a more sustainable and productive sector. We need to strengthen our competitiveness by supporting localisation where we have the potential,” said the Minister.
Source : SAnews.gov.za