The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Bulelani Magwanishe visited the Amajingqi Macadamia Farming in Willowvale, Eastern Cape as part of taking the dti to the Factories campaign. The community farm, which is located in the Mbashe Local Municipality, was supported with a cash grant of R40 million under the Employment Creation Fund from the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). To date the fund has disbursed about R30 million to the project.
Deputy Minister Magwanishe was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Ms. Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Sfiso Buthelezi.
Addressing the workers at the farm, Deputy Minister Magwanishe said the supported project is intended to create sustainable jobs, skills transfer, social upliftment and distribution of wealth to previously disadvantaged communities.
"The overall goal and purpose of the project is to establish a community-owned macadamia nut industry in the Eastern Cape utilising land in the rural communities located along the coastal belt. The long-term intention is to develop the whole macadamia value chain and create sustainable economic opportunities which will allow for sustainable jobs and the creation of emerging farmers in the rural areas. These will also boost tourism in the area," said Magwanishe.
The Field Manager at Amajingqi Macadamia Farming, Mr. Lwando Mnqweno welcomed the visit by and the deputy ministers and said the farming project has improved the lives of 12 villages around Amajingqi for the better.
"Today more than 118 members of the community are employed in the farm mainly consisting of youth and women. For someone who has not been employed and trained in farming, this project has showed what government intervention can do to improve the lives of the people with no skills or training," said Mnqweno.
Mnqweno added that with the prospect of expanding the community business to another level with the assistance of the Land Bank and exporting the nuts to Australia, Europe and China, more and more people will be employed especially those who cannot afford higher education and training.
"The project has also boosted local contractors in transport, infrastructure as most of the procurement around the farm is done locally. The positive attitude showned by the workers also assists in building our economy for our future generation," he said.