Mpumalanga Business 2021-22

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OVERVIEW

Agriculture and agro-processing Barberton has a new and unusual blueberry farm.

Credit: Primocane Capital

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ining company Pan African Resources is getting into the blueberry business in an effort to help uplift the community in which it operates near Barberton. The 15ha farm (pictured) has created 80 jobs with a further 400 seasonal jobs expected for a five-month period. In the second phase of the project, which is being run by Primocane Capital, about 1 000 jobs are expected. The first harvest is expected in 2022. According to a report in Business Times, the miner’s investment into the first phase has so far amounted to R40-million. A provincial government assistance programme called Phezukomkhono Mlimi is providing mechanisation and input support to small-scale and new farmers. Those who receive help are also offered training courses offered by the AgriSETA. An agro-processing facility is planned for the area near the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) and private investors are being approached. Progress has been made in the construction of the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market and the main market is expected to be ready in the course of 2021. With several coal mines reaching the end of their lives, steps are being taken to convert the land to useful agricultural land. Safety and health concerns will have to be addressed, but there is potential to improve food security for poorer families in the province. The Fortune 40 programme has a specific focus on developing young entrepreneurs in farming. Twelve of the Fortune 40 farms have been linked to retailers such as Spar, Shoprite and Boxer and with wholesalers and agro-hubs.

MPUMALANGA BUSINESS 2021/22

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SECTOR INSIGHT Subsistence farmers are getting assistance. The goal is to have an agrohub in each of the province’s three districts. Small-scale farmers and co-operatives are being given a chance to connect to the formal economy via the hubs which will also provide advice and equipment. The Mkhuhlu agro-hub in Bushbuckridge, which for ms par t of the Provincial Government Nutrition Programme, is operational. The Mkhondo agro-hub in Gert Sibande District is completed and partially operational. A feasibility study is underway relating to the establishment of a hub in the Nkomazi Municipality. A budget of R15-million has been agreed for the first phase and the creation of a pack-house. Other interventions