South Africa: Smallholder Eastern Cape citrus farmers receive funding

June 15 , 2015

Emerging South African citrus farmers in a part of the country's Eastern Cape have reportedly received a cash injection of ZAR9 million (US$725,000) to help them with exports to the European market.

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Website Thenewage.co.za said the Department of Rural Development hoped to boost the provincial economy by developing commercial black farmers located in Peddie in the Amathole district.

The citrus farmers were said to have started out with nothing in the 1990s, but this season nearly 200 hectares of fruit were being harvested.

""When you have faith you know when today is not good, tomorrow is going to be fine. So I’m kept by that for the past years until now," local farmer Khayalethu Mpahla was quoted as saying.

The government is also reportedly calling on young people to pursue opportunities in the agricultural sector, promising it will assist them with funding.

In March this year, local media reported South Africa’s Eastern Cape’s citrus industry had received ZAR21 million (US$1.8 million) of funding to boost exports from the Amathole district.

Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform Member of Executive Council (MEC), Mlibo Qoboshiyane, assigned the majority of the funding to infrastructure support at the ageing Ripplemead citrus pack house in Peddie, while smallholder citrus growers from the region will receive ZAR4 million (US$330,000).

The story said Qoboshiyane made the allocation while delivering his 2015-16 policy speech at the legislature building in the provincial capital Bhisho this week.

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