President Jacob Zuma says government wants to bring 300 000 new smallholder farmers into the agricultural sector and create 145 000 new agro-processing jobs through the Agri-Parks Programme.
The Agri-Parks Programme has become the cornerstone of government’s priority to revitalise agriculture and the agro-processing value chain, which is also one of the priorities of the Nine-Point Plan.
The establishment of Agri-Parks in all 44 district municipalities is set to transform the rural economy by, amongst others, creating a market and support for smallholder farmers, creating employment opportunities for rural communities, infrastructure development and revitalising the agriculture and agro-processing value chain.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has over the last 18 months conducted an assessment of the economic potential of each of the 44 districts in the country.
“The purpose was to assist government to make informed decisions on which commodities to prioritise in each district. To ensure their sustainability, government will provide financial and material support for Agri-Parks for a period of 10 years, after which farmers in the various districts must assume complete control.
“The Agri-Parks are an integral part and driver of the Rural Economic Transformation Model, which focuses on the generation and stimulation of both subsistence and commercial enterprises.
“Seventy percent equity in Agri-Parks shall be owned by producers, with the State and other commercial interests anchoring the other 30%. The State’s strategic support will diminish over a period of 10 years, with producers taking full control,” the Presidency said.