MEC Pieters Boosts Vegetable Farmers with R1.5 Million Irrigation System

Nonkqubela Pieters, the MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) in the Eastern Cape, has provided significant support to vegetable farmers, aiming to enhance their growth. During her visit to Nonkobe (Orange Grove) village in Mthatha, Pieters delivered an irrigation system valued at R1.5 million, with the intention of assisting the enterprise in accessing formal markets.

The department’s investment totals R2.7 million, aimed at facilitating the enterprise’s attainment of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. This certification will enable them to sell their produce in supermarkets and other outlets. Comprising 24 members, including 18 females and 6 young individuals, the enterprise is engaged in the cultivation of various vegetables.

Expressing satisfaction with the active involvement of young people, Pieters emphasized the importance of farming as a viable income source. She expressed her desire to motivate them further to propel the enterprise into commercial success.

Originally assisted by the Department of Social Development in 2006, the enterprise underwent a transformation from a farrow irrigation system to a sprinkler irrigation system. DRDAR’s investment ensures that all 17 hectares utilized by the enterprise will be irrigated and fenced. Additionally, storage facilities will be constructed, and assistance with water rights applications has been provided.

In a demonstration of dedication, the members invested R500,000 from their produce to purchase two diesel engines. Walter Mnqwazi, the enterprise’s chairperson, hailed the department’s investment as a game-changer, citing increased production and income since the installation of the irrigation system. He noted a growing interest among the youth, who are now joining the enterprise.

While serving both formal and informal markets, the enterprise has established strong ties with the Kei Fresh Produce Market. Local headman Msindise Mdemka lauded the government’s substantial investment, acknowledging its potential to significantly impact the area’s development.

As part of her support, MEC Pieters provided the enterprise with vegetable seedlings, fertilizers, and knapsacks for pesticide application in their fields.

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