Eastern Cape premier signs joint declaration with Argentina
EAST LONDON – Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle held bilateral discussions at the East London industrial development zone (IDZ) on Thursday.
The discussions were with Argentinian delegates, including the leader of the government and business delegation from Cordoba Province in the Federal Republic of Argentina, Oscar Felix Gonzalez.
In June 2013, South Africa and Argentina entered into a cooperation agreement on matters relating to agriculture. Cordoba Province has, in subsequent engagements, agreed to multi-sectoral province to province relations to assist the Eastern Cape to advance towards its aspiration of being the bread-basket of the Southern African region, given the advanced technologies and resources Córdoba has.
According to Argentina's Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Sergio Busso, the Eastern Cape has potential even though there are many agricultural developments that have to be done.
“I see the agreement very positive, we hope the potential becomes true and we want to be part of the industrialisation of this province, “said Busso.
Before Musualle signed the joint declaration of cooperation between the two provincial governments, he highlighted that it include partnership with Argentina farming enterprises to develop a precision farming industry in the Eastern Cape province.
Musualle said the partnership will assist co-operatives and emerging black farmers to commercialize and expand their agricultural production beyond current capabilities and also promote transfer of agricultural technology to Eastern Cape farmers and co-operatives.
He said this will be done through partnerships with the Argentinian seed manufacturers, equipment and machinery manufacturers, manufacturers of agro-processing machinery and mechanisation.
“It will create a platform for institutions of higher learning in the two provinces to exchange skills, embark on co-learning practices that will help grow the agriculture sector. The cooperation agreement will also allow for the formalisation and deepening of ongoing interactions between Córdoba Province and a consortium of farmers in the O. R. Tambo District Municipality, Chris Hani District Municipality, Joe Gqabi District Municipality and Alfred Nzo District Municipality,” said Musualle.
He added that this was an affirmation of the province’s commitment to roll out more than 40,000 hectares of land that could be put to production by using the Argentinian techniques.
“If you are thinking about food security, poverty, job creation and other positive things to benefit the province this is a very major advance as far as agricultural development in the province,” he added.