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Radical economic shift for the City’s agricultural sector
THE Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) programme which aims to open up markets for black small-scale and subsistence farmers was officially launched by President Jacob Zuma on 27 June at Harry Gwala Stadium at Ixopo.

President Zuma described the programme as a critical milestone in government’s on-going campaign to bring about meaningful and tangible economic freedom to better the lives of South African citizens. This pilot programme has six participating districts which were selected after observing their agricultural potential. These include eThekwini, Harry Gwala, Ilembe, Ugu, Umgungundlovu and uThungulu.

“This programme seeks to improve the participation of small-scale farmers to address economic inequality as previously disadvantaged farmers still find it difficult to access the available markets for their produce,” said President Zuma. MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala, who spearheads the programme in the province, said this will transform the food value chain by coordinating government investment, incubating, unleashing the potential of black farmers and attracting private partnership.

“This is our means of accelerating government’s mandate of radically transforming the economy through the agricultural sector to tackle poverty, unemployment and inequality,” said MEC Zikalala. Presenting eThekwini Municipality’s progress on RASET, Mayor Zandile Gumede said the Municipality has already procured six tractors which are expected to be delivered by the end of August and nine tunnels to be erected in August which will be located in Ottawa. She said it was all systems go for the City’s agro-incubation programme which will be based at the Clairwood Fresh Produce Market. “Youth participation will be highly prioritised in this programme as our target is to set-up 80 youth farm agrienterprises with a minimum of five hectares per enterprise.

This opportunity will be advertised in all communication platforms soon,” said Mayor Gumede. She added that in order to broaden the participation of historically disadvantaged individuals in the farming business enterprise, the City aims to utilise existing local contractors for mechanisation of ploughing, disking and ridging. “Local cooperatives will be targeted as service providers for site preparation and infrastructure roll-out,” Mayor Gumede added.
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