Cash boost for agricultural transformation
ZULULAND OBSERVER/ 19 MARCH 2018 - 14.11 / STAFF REPORTER
R57-million has been set aside by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs
THANKS to a massive cash injection, KZN co-operatives and small business enterprises are set to benefit greatly from a programme seeking to improve the prospects for small-scale farmers to participate in the food production value chain.
KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala
The announcement was made by KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, during a recent entrepreneurship summit.
Zikalala said his department had set aside R57-million for the implementation of the Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) programme.
RASET strives to solve the socio-economic challenges of rural and township communities by empowering them to create their own wealth, which in turn would provide jobs, eradicate poverty and redress economic imbalances.
‘We have set aside R57-million for RASET and we have also forged a partnership with the Spar supermarket group to provide technical and back office support for rural shops, as well as serve as pension and social grant pay points,’ said Zikalala.
‘Our district development agencies have also been allocated a revolving facility, which will enable them to pay farmers who provide them with produce for the RASET programme.
‘Details of how our emerging farmers will benefit from this funding will be unveiled during our budget speech in the next few weeks.’
He said the department was also negotiating with TVET colleges in the province to provide training to SMMEs and co-operatives in business management and co-operative governance.
‘During this financial year, it is the department’s target to have 1 166 small enterprises benefitting from this partnership agreement.
‘We are also negotiating with the KZN Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) to provide mentorship support programmes to these SMMEs, and we are optimistic the agreements will be reached soon.’
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