Booming blueberry industry eyes Asian markets

SA does not have access to key markets such as China and South Korea at a time when blueberry imports are growing phenomenally in Asia 21 AUGUST 2019 – 19:15 BEKEZELA PHAKATHI Blueberries being processed at a factory. Picture: REUTERS/Neil Hall SA’s booming blueberry industry is looking to gain access to the Asian markets, saying this will create an additional 12,000 jobs in the sector. The industry is labour intensive and employs three to four workers per hectare. SA does not have access to key markets such as China and South…

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Coega favoured as investments flow in

Despite the deteriorating local and global economic investment environment, which has resulted in most of South Africa’s special economic zones (SEZs) struggling to attract investment, Coega in Port Elizabeth is riding the investment wave. The SEZ, which is operated by the Coega Development Corporation, has secured an additional 18 new investments valued at R2.6 billion, creating about 3 000 jobs during the 2018/19 financial year, against a target of R693 million. Investments in aquaculture, which include an abalone farm and a land-based fish farming facility, represent a third of the…

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Rising Cape Town dam levels to buoy agriculture and tourism

With Cape Town dam levels hitting a new high of 81.7% and average Western Cape dam levels set to top the psychological 65% mark, the agriculture and tourism sectors in the province are eyeing better prospects in coming months. Both city and provincial dam levels reached a four-year high in August, following the region’s worst drought in 100 years, which hit the agriculture, tourism and property sectors particularly badly. The City of Cape Town’s latest Dam levels report shows that the Western Cape Water Supply System, comprising the region’s six largest dams,…

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Government master plan to make producers more competitive

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s embattled poultry industry, which has buckled under the weight of cheap foreign imports, is set to receive a boost from a government-led master plan aimed at making local producers more competitive.The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said yesterday that the poultry industry and the government had begun work together to open up new export markets for South African poultry. Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said his department and that of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development had met with industry players to thrash out…

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Botswana seeks AfDB funding for integrated agro-commercial project

INTERNATIONAL – Botswana’s Agricultural Ministry has submitted a funding request to the African Development Bank (AfDB) for an undisclosed amount to launch an integrated agro-commercial development project, a senior official said Monday. The ministry aimed to engage a transactional advisor and carry out next steps incorporated in the project, dubbed as Zambezi Integrated Agro-Commercial Development Project, according to Fidelis Molao, Botswana’s minister of agricultural development and food security. The project was launched to improve Botswana’s food security, diversify the sector, contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and create…

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Zimbabwe to legalise growing of industrial hemp

    Harare – Zimbabwe will change its laws to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp for export, cabinet ministers said on Tuesday, adding that the government saw the plant as a future substitute for tobacco, the country’s biggest export earning crop. Industrial hemp is a strain of a cannabis species that is grown specifically for industrial uses of its derived products. Its fibre is used in textiles and paper, and it also produces edible seeds. The southern African nation’s laws only allow cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific…

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Absa to expand its agriculture loan book in Africa

  JOHANNESBURG – Absa Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB) yesterday said that it planned to expand its agriculture loan book to countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, due to good long-term growth prospects in the rest of the continent. Absa CIB agriculture head Roux Wildenboer said the lender wanted to grow its footprint in both its domestic market and the rest of the continent due to strong demand. “Agricultural debt is relatively higher than it was in recent history and the ability of agricultural businesses to borrow…

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Hepatitis E in pork products sparks warning to Cape Town consumers

  Scientists have warned consumers to thoroughly cook meat from pigs after finding the hepatitis E virus in pork sold in Cape Town. Hepatitis E causes jaundice, loss of appetite and nausea. In rare cases it can cause acute liver failure, particularly in pregnant women and patients with a comprised immune system. The virus is usually transmitted through drinking water contaminated with faeces, but scientists who bought 144 food samples from supermarkets and butcheries around Cape Town found it in two liver spreads. Stephen Korsman, of the National Health Laboratory…

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Global scientists root for digital tools to transform Africa’s farming

  INTERNATIONAL – African governments should enact policies that facilitate adoption of technologies and innovations required to transform small-holder farming, international scientists said on Monday. Athula Ginige, professor of information technology at Western Sydney University, said that a digital revolution holds key to enhanced productivity of African agriculture amid rising demand for food.  “We need to connect African farmers with technologies that can improve how they produce food at a time when population growth and climate change have escalated hunger and nutrition deficiencies in the continent,” Ginige said at a…

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Support for farmers affected by drought

Deputy President David Mabuza says government has offered support to farmers who were affected by drought in the Free State, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. “As government, we will not allow our agricultural sector to collapse because farmers are the lifeblood of our economy. That is why as part of our response to these challenges, we have set aside a package of financial assistance to affected farmers in various provinces. “I am advised by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development that various provinces were assisted with…

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