Following executive mayor councillor Mzwandile Masina’s announcement during his 2019 state of the city address (Soca), the City is going ahead with its rapid land release programme, reports Alberton Record.
In his speech, Masina said the City would release agricultural farms to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and contribute to the development of emerging farmers while transforming the sector.
The City has recently stated that it is releasing 56 farms at a value of R120 million to local smallholder and subsistence farmers.
This intends to improve food security, increase tax and revenue base for the City, expand food export, and attract new investments into the City.
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The initiative will also enhance the quality of livelihoods, and create job opportunities in the region.
Over 1,000 hectares of land will be released to the beneficiaries in a programme that will generate about R200 million revenue for the City through a medium-term lease in addition to other massive economic benefits.
The advertisement of the tender calling for prospective beneficiaries of the 56 farms to bid has been released on September 13.
The City will hold the Ekurhuleni Agriculture Summit (October 7 and 8) to thrash out how the City will use agriculture to boost its economy.
The City’s agriculture development and support programme, of which the rapid land release is part of, covers five key elements.
They will transform and grow the agriculture and agro-processing sector in Ekurhuleni.
This is because farmers will be assisted with access to council-owned land, technical support, skills development, access to funding and access to markets and off-take agreements.
The City is in a process of finalising economic partnership agreements with numerous bodies.
These include private sector companies, government agencies, development financial institutions, industry bodies, farmers’ associations, research institutions and training organisations.
The collaboration will support the City’s intent to position Ekurhuleni as the preferred investment destination for urban agriculture and agro-processing.
This will be done in order to strengthen the City’s competitiveness in attracting foreign direct investment, direct domestic investment and creating jobs.
About R14 million has already been budgeted in the current financial year for services of researchers and economists who will provide support to the programme.
A briefing session for the candidate beneficiaries will be held on October 4 at the Germiston City Hall from 9am.