Mbombela – An amount of R25 million will be used to revitalise three irrigation schemes in Mpumalanga’s Bushbuckridge area.
The financial injection is expected to boost citrus and banana production in Hoxane, Champagne and Saringwa villages, said spokesperson for the provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration, Janine Julies.
“Commitment from the community will ensure that the 3 000 hectares is put back into production,” said Julies.
More funding was expected from private investors to help with the three projects.
Julies said the first phase of the Champagne irrigation scheme was already completed, allowing for an additional 200 hectares of citrus cultivation.
Presenting the department’s R969,1 million budget for 2011/12 in the provincial legislature last week, MEC Candith Mashego-Dlamini announced a further R10 million to kick-start the revitalisation of the Ngogolo, Mbhunu B, Nhlangu East and West sugarcane projects in Komatipoort.
She said the money would help struggling subsistence and emerging farmers in the sugar industry.
The department was also in the process of developing a feasibility study for a fresh produce market in Mpumalanga.
“This will help integrate local farmers throughout the value chain and take advantage of the developed infrastructure around the Maputo Corridor, the proximity to Mozambique, Swaziland and other South African Development Community countries,” said Mashego-Dlamini.
She added that a fresh produce market would help the province tap into local and international experiences, in particular, the leading fresh produce markets in France and Spain. – Siphiwe Nyathi, BuaNews