56 farms valued at R120-m to be released by metro

The initiative will also enhance the quality of livelihoods and increase the number of job opportunities in the region.

The City of Ekurhuleni is steaming ahead with its rapid land release programme.

The city is releasing 56 farms at a value of R120-million to local smallholder and subsistence farmers to improve food security, increase the tax and revenue base for the city, expand food export and attract new investments into the city.

The initiative will also enhance the quality of livelihoods and increase the number of job opportunities in the region.

Over 1 000 hectares of land will be released to the beneficiaries of the programme which will generate about R200-million of revenue for the city, through medium-term leases in addition to other economic benefits.

The key milestones and time frames are:

• The advertisement of the tender calling for prospective beneficiaries of the 56 farms to bid, has been released on September 13.

• A briefing session for the candidate beneficiaries will be held on October 4 at Germiston City Hall.

• The city will hold an Ekurhuleni Agriculture Summit to hash out how the city will use agriculture to boost its economy on October 7 and 8.

The city’s agriculture development and support programme, of which the rapid land release is part of, covers five key elements that will transform and grow the agriculture and agro-processing sector in Ekurhuleni. Farmers will gain access to council-owned land, technical support, skills development, access to funding and access to markets and off-take agreements.

The City is in the process of finalising economic partnership agreements with private sector companies, government agencies, development financial institutions (DFIs), 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, 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.

Executive mayor Clr Mzwandile Masina announced earlier this year, during his 2019 State of the City Address, that the City would release the agricultural farms to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and contribute to the development of emerging farmers while transforming the sector.

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