Author: Staff Writer
A delegation led by Aspire acting CEO Chwayita Stofile on Saturday attended the OR Tambo Agricultural and Food Trade Fair at the Mthatha Sports Field, to explore opportunities.
Organized by the OR Tambo District Municipality in conjunction with Eastern Cape Development Cooperation, the event sought to link small scale producers to potential buyers.
The event which was also attended by Finance and economic development MEC Mlungisi Mvoko, acts as a stimulant for local trade and sector development.
Stofile said, the purpose of attending the event was to get ideas on how to implement same programs in the Amathole District Municipality.
“It’s a great initiative and will benefit communities under ADM,” she said.
Stofile said, Aspire would be supported by ECDC to implement the project.
ECDC board chairperson Vuyani Jarana said the purpose of the event was to prove to buyers that food producers were ready to meet the demand.
“We are here for developmental purposes. This is part of the bigger plan. We are trying to do a study on how we could fund these projects. We can’t fund a project without knowing we will be able to get our money back. We also can not leave it to chance, we have to make sure that we assist them so that we will be able to recover the money we give them,” he said.
He said they wanted small scale farmers to exhibit what they were capable to produce, “so that we can create a market for them,” he said.
Mvoko said government was excited with the initiative.
“The event brought together local farmers, producers, buyers, including consumers,” he said.
He said, agriculture and food production played a huge role in the economy.
“Population is growing and there is demand for food and agricultural produce. It is important to have initiatives like this, to meet the demand,” he said.
He said all the municipalities across the province should have such initiatives.
“It can’t just be a lip service. We need to encourage people to participate,” he said.
Among food producers that attend the event was Mpofukazi Nkabalaza from Shawbury in Qumbu.
She said, she gained a lot of information, “like opportunities that exist in farming,” she said.
Stofile also had a fruitful engagement with King Sabata Dalindyebo (hosting local municipality) executive mayor Nyaniso Nelani,and exchange ideas, “in terms of operations of the development agency work in our respective municipalities,” she said.