Emerging farmers benefiting from public-private partnerships
DURBAN - KWAZULU-NATAL emerging farmers are supplying R44 million worth of products to businesses every week, thanks to a public-private partnership initiative set up to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Small businesses are being targeted to benefit through a preferential procurement process involving both the public and private sectors, said Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
Dube-Ncube said procurement had been identified as a vehicle that could drive economic transformation, specifically to rescue small businesses following the devastating blow suffered as a result of the various lockdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“With the outbreak of Covid-19, we have partnered with retail shops to ensure that they procure agricultural products from emerging farmers. We have said, this province must no longer be a net importer of agricultural products,” Dube-Ncube said during an engagement involving Proudly SA and Brand SA, among others.
“We have partnered with food chains and retailers such as Unilever, Massmart, Spar Group, Pick n Pay, Boxer Cash & Carry and Mr Price.
“We invited them to embrace the Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (Raset) Programme,” she said.
“Through Raset, we are utilising our influence as a purchaser of goods and services to ensure the redistribution of wealth.
“We identified products and services that should be provided by previously disadvantaged groups such as small and medium entrepreneurs and co-operatives.
“We have committed to double our efforts in order to remove the red tape in public procurement for the benefit of small players,” Dube-Ncube said.
She said the provincial government had successfully co-ordinated the procurement of perishable food through five prioritised District Development Agencies (DDAs).
“We supplied emerging farmers with 15 refrigerated trucks, 10 bakkies and 10 two-ton trailers to transport food. We also supported DDAs with revolving funds of more than R15m to pay the emerging farmers on time,” said Dube-Ncube.
More than 27 public hospitals and retail shops were being supplied with agricultural products such as vegetables, valued at more than R44m, on a weekly basis.
The suppliers included PCK Distributors, Fieldcrest (a Boxer agent), Port Natal (a market agent), Agrihouse and Oxford Market, she said.