Ekurhuleni Rapid Land Release Is Set in Motion
The City is steaming ahead with its rapid land release programme by releasing 56 farms at a value of R120 million to local smallholder and subsistence farmers. This is to improve food security, increase tax and revenue base for the City, expand food export and attract new investments into the City. It is an initiative that will also enhance the quality of livelihoods, and increase number of job opportunities in the region.
Over 1 000 hectares of land will be released to beneficiaries in a programme that will generate about R200 million revenue for the City through medium-term lease in addition to other immense economic benefits.
The key milestones and timeframes in relation to the programme are as follows:
- The advertisement of the tender calling for prospective beneficiaries of the 56 farms.
- An Ekurhuleni Agriculture Summit to thrash out how the City will use agriculture to boast its economy. This was set to happen on 7 and 8 October, but the date has been postponed and will be announced in due course.
The City’s agriculture development and support programme, of which the rapid land release is part thereof covers five key elements that will transform and grow the agriculture and agro-processing sector in Ekurhuleni as 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 finalizing economic partnerships agreements with private sector companies, government agencies, development financial institutions (DFIs), industry bodies, farmers’ associations, research institutions and training organisations.
This collaboration will support the intent to position Ekurhuleni as the preferred investment destination for urban agriculture and agro-processing, in order to strengthen the City’s competitiveness in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), direct domestic investment (DDI) 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.
Executive Mayor Cllr Mzwandile Masina announced earlier this year during his 2019 State of the City Address (SOCA) that the City will release the agricultural farms to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and contribute to development of emerging farmers, while transforming the sector.