Following their recent annual general meeting, AgriSETA has announced that it signed partnership agreements with the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) and RCL Foods to benefit black small-holder farmers and land reform beneficiaries.
These partnerships hold the promise of significant job creation in agriculture and opportunities for small-scale citrus and sugar cane farmers to gain access to international markets.
The partnerships further serve to develop mutual co-operation in the process of moving forward matters of land reform, rural development and economic transformation in the agricultural economy through skills development.
“The signing of the agreement marks the beginning of meaningful partnerships in transforming the agricultural sector in developing high-level skills that offer great opportunities for our youth and the country as a whole”, said AgriSETA CEO Zenzele Myeza.
This agreement comes after AgriSETA signed a partnership agreement with the Unemployment Insurance Fund earlier this year committing to contribute R21 million for skills development for those who are unemployed to enter the job market. The department of public works also agreed to contribute R66 million which will be used to develop at least 400 artisans.
The partnership agreements serve to direct AgriSETA’s strategic approach in leveraging funds to have a greater impact on society and the country as a whole, said Christo van der Rheede, the chairperson of the AgriSETA Board.
Agriculture forms part of National Treasury’s proposed economic recovery plan, part of which focusses on reversing Mzansi’s current economic trajectory, which is characterised by stagnant growth, rising unemployment and high levels of inequality.
RCL Foods Limited is a consumer goods and milling company employing over 20 000 people. The agreement with RCL Foods serves to boost the sugar industry initiatives in establishing sustainable cane growers and supporting independent, commercial, black small-holder farmers and land reform beneficiaries in the sugar cane sector.
RCL Foods have committed R5 million to the programme. The partnership with the CGA is valued at R307 million for training, skills development and capacity building support for establishing sustainable black export citrus growers into independent commercial black citrus growers.
AgriSETA contributed R13 million for established exporters and R7 million for those who still need to be developed to be at exporter level. According to Van der Rheede, “Private companies such as RCL and CGA are forward-thinking entities who have taken the lead in partnering with public entities such as AgriSETA, the combined efforts of which will not only benefit a community, but an entire future populace of the country”.