During a dialogue with stakeholders in Mbizana, the Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Nomakhosazana Meth said her department was implementing a commodity-based corridor strategy aimed at ensuring each district of the province is supported according to their agriculture commodity potential as part of the implementation of the agriculture economic transformation strategy.
She said R19.4 million is invested in the current 2020/21 financial year to support vegetable producers with irrigation, packing and ablution facilities in OR Tambo, Joe Gqabi, Amathole, Sarah Bartman and Chris Hani.
“The Department will form partnerships with the private sector and intermediary vegetable producers to access domestic and export markets to create opportunities for youth enterprises. We are specialising at providing technical and business support to support irrigation,” said Meth.
Meth said the department’s commitment to ensure that communal, smallholder and medium enterprises in the production of vegetables receive irrigation system and other infrastructure inputs, are bearing good fruits at Ngxabakazi village in Port St Johns (PSJ).
Communication officers working for the DRDAR travelled to Ngxabakazi in Port St Johns to talk to some of the farmers benefiting from this programme funded by the department. The department has not only provided a computerised electric water pump engine but has also installed a sprinkler irrigation system covering 18ha, erected fencing covering about 60ha where farmers use 42ha to plant various vegetables.
One of the farmers, Vuyo Langa said previously they used the diesel propelled generators to pump water for irrigation into the dilapidated irrigation system they built for themselves.
“I remember when we were using those generators, we would buy 20 000 seedlings and we lost all of those because generators failed us when we wanted to irrigate our crops. Since the installation of this water pump by DRDAR, we do not have that problem,” said Langa.
Another Farmer Mluleki Jico said the investment by DRDAR was huge and brought them the much needed relief.
“In reality this is huge and it is making a lasting solution towards sustainability. Indeed, we are passionate about what we do and this has been shown by our survival during the tough times we endured before government came to the rescue. These developments have added more power to us on top what we had and we appreciate that,” said Jico.
Speaking during a recent dialogue in Mbizana, Meth praised the top of the range irrigation system in Port St Johns and Ingquza Hill Municipality, saying she wants to see centre pivot irrigation systems in rural villages of the province helping farmers with production to increase their economic activities to create jobs.