SPECIAL FEATURE exploit the tasty marula fruit, which has a high vitamin C content and is already produced as a beer and a liqueur. The Limpopo Department of Economic Development and Tourism (LEDET) is encouraging research into the uses of marula and the development of commercial products such as cosmetics and jams. The University of Limpopo is making good progress with a marula wine. Facilities at the hub will include a centre for research and processing facilities to create more value from the raw product. Advisors will be available to help small-scale farmers and SMMEs enter the formal economy. The Marula initiative is consistent with the broader agricultural sector plans for Limpopo. The provincial government has identified five Agricultural Development Zones (ADZs) across the province, including the Mopani District within which the Marula Hub is located. Programmes to increase productivity have been presented to small-scale farmers. Small-scale producers are receiving support in the form of irrigation infrastructure, livestock infrastructure and other production inputs. The University of Venda has its own commercial offshoot, the Univen Innovative Growth Company (UIGC) which is solely owned by the university. Services are offered to the public by a range of consultants and trainers via five programmes, including the Animal Production Programme, the Farm Equipment Programme, the Univen Commercial Unit and the Univen Consultancy Unit. Targeted plans The SEZ and industrial parks being promoted in the province are conceptualised within a broader framework. The Limpopo Development Plan (LDP) targets three broad areas for improvement and development: socio-economic, infrastructural and institutional. Every department of the Limpopo Provincial Government has targets within the LDP which are translated into actionable programmes to be implemented within time-frames. The plan is supported by strategies relating to a spatial investment framework in public and private sector infrastructure, an integrated public transport policy and policies on land development. LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2020/21
Key elements of the Limpopo Development Plan are: industrialisation (beneficiation of mining and agricultural products and produce); mining (local suppliers, improved training and access to sector for entrepreneurs); infrastructure development; agri-processing; SMME promotion and ICT and the knowledge economy (establish a WAN footprint). The Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA) is the key driver of the provincial government’s drive to boost the economy through investment. LEDA is an agency of LEDET. LEDA’s brief is to contribute to accelerated industrialisation in Limpopo by stimulating and diversifying the industrial base of the regional economy. The focus is on high-impact projects that will spark growth in a variety of sectors and create employment opportunities.
Sawn timber. Image: Ludwig Sevenster/SA Forestry Land, property and infrastructure develop-ment (including business parks and industrial parks) are vital components of the plan. As these targeted areas grow, the infrastructure and associated industries should act as a magnet for other businesses and industries in the same sector, and service industries. Mining is currently the most important part of the provincial economy. Recent platinum mining developments on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex have increased this effect but global commodity prices have been uncertain in recent years. One of the goals of the LDP is to see more beneficiation from the mining sector, which will support the goal of further industrialising the province’s economy. Related to this is an emphasis on the goal of developing manufacturing capacity, and this is where the role of SEZs is so important. ■