Nelson Mandela Bay metro allocates land for communal farmers
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has handed over 15 permits to communal farming associations, benefiting more than 150 individuals in the Kariega area by allowing them to use municipal land to farm crops and livestock.
The economic development, tourism and agriculture directorate identified 5,700 hectares of municipal land in the Kariega area for the communal farmers.
The mayoral committee member for economic development, tourism and agriculture, Luxolo Namette, said this was a step in the right direction.
Urban farmers have been battling to find suitable land in the metro for several years.
“Agriculture is an important vehicle in our drive towards food security and job creation,” Namette said.
“Six months ago, we handed over agricultural equipment to a significant number of beneficiaries in Kariega and today we are back to hand over permits.
“I am happy to also announce that all the recipients of permits will be part of a business incubation programme to enable them to operate their respective enterprises successfully.”
He said a snail-farming enterprise, , run by Robert Matsabisa from Wells Estate was a prime example of innovative farming.
The permits are valid for five years, with the option to renew if farmers are successful.
“This is just the first step,” Namette said.
“More land will be identified and assessed in other areas to determine if it is suitable for agricultural purposes.”
Victor Jonas, an emerging farmer from the Feeding for the Hungry farmers’ association, said the permits would enable them to follow the law and to invest in their businesses.
Mpho Pebane, acting executive director for economic development, tourism and agriculture, said the handover was long overdue.
“The communal farmers are now recognised and enabled to seek funding and support from government entities and the private sector,” Pebane said.
Human settlements mayoral committee member Tukela Zumani made a commitment that the fresh produce markets in Kariega and Gqeberha would be fully operational by the end of the year.
The permits can also be revoked if the land is used for purposes other than that agreed upon or if any conditions are breached.
The department of rural development and agrarian reform, the agricultural research council and the Small Enterprise Development Agency, also expressed their support for the farmers and their enterprises.
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