THE Eastern Cape government has welcomed a R100-million injection by two private companies for large-scale avocado production in the troubled Majola Tea Estate in Port St Johns.
However, the estate might have to wait until 2029 before the project reaches full maturity.
The announcement on the new investment was made following a meeting in East London on Monday involving Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana and representatives from Majola and the Lusikisiki-based Magwa Tea Estate.
It was announced that Masimong Agri, a company involved in avocado production in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, and its business partner, Univeg, would be investing R100-million for avocado production starting with Majola.
An upbeat Qoboshiyane said the provincial government would provide the necessary support to Masimong Agri to make the initiative a success.
Masimong Agri chairman Mike Teke, also president of the Chamber of Mines, said his company had already engaged communities, conducted soil analysis and were now getting ready to sign lease agreements with stakeholders in preparation for production.
“Our plan is to plant avocado in 200ha of land in Majola with an expected investment of R80-million to R100-million. We expect the project to take about 12 to 15 years to get to full maturity,” he said.
It is expected to reach full maturity in 2029 with a yield of about 3 000 tons.