Free State Business 2021

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Agriculture An inland fishery has been launched.


ranjeville, on the southern banks of the Wilge River, is the site of a fisheries project which has created seven new jobs in its first phase. The river flows into the Vaal River and the town is located in the Metsimaholo Local Municipality (under which Sasolburg also falls) within the Fezile Dabi District Municipality. Five agri-parks are planned in each of the Free State’s district municipalities. The concept brings together farmers, traders and agroprocessors at convenient sites. Support for rural smallholders will be available in terms of equipment hire from a central source, storage facilities, packaging of produce and getting products to market.

Image: VKB As part of the agri-parks programme a warehouse is under construction at Springfontein and the Thaba Nchu abattoir is being upgraded. In Sediba, Farmer Production Support Units supplied a tractor and implements to participants. A goat development project has been launched by the provincial government, intended to create agriculture opportunities for young people and women. Key to the growth of these small-scale operations is access to finance and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is a key roleplayer in the Free State. The launch of the Maluti-A-Phofung Special Economic Zone (MAP SEZ) has created another platform to boost the agro-processing and agro-logistics sectors. Cannabis is a potential new sector. A Cannabis Expo was held in November 2019 at which experts, industry leaders and regulators from met to discuss the economic benefits of medicinal cannabis. A provincial strategy will be developed in the course of 2020/21. FREE STATE BUSINESS 2021


Sector Insight Omnia has bought Oro Agri Opportunities.

Company news The Agriculture RSA division of chemical group Omnia has bought Oro Agri Opportunities, a producer of agriculture biologicals, for a reported $100-million (Engineering News). The US-based Oro Agri has production facilities in the US, Brazil and South Africa where it makes crop protection products, fertilisers and soil conditioners. Omnia has a big presence in Sasolburg: its facilities include an ammonium nitrate/calcium nitrate plant, two nitric acid/ ammonium nitrate plants, a porous ammonium nitrate plant, granulation plants and a nitrophosphate plant. Research facilities, the Chemtech group of laboratories, 185 specialised ammonia rail tankers and another production facility at Wesselsbron (south of Bothaville) make up the balance of Omnia’s presence in the Free State. The purchase of a 21% stake in BKB by VKB has given the latter company extended geographical reach and opportunities in new markets. While VKB is strongest in the Free State and Limpopo with a grain focus, BKB is wellestablished in the Eastern Cape, deals mainly in wool and mohair and runs many auctions.