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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Tomato farmers get equity stake

By unknown | Mar 26, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Chester Makana and Michael Sakuneka

Chester Makana and Michael Sakuneka

Limpopo agriculture MEC Dikeledi Magadzi said the provincial government has adopted a value-chain approach to afford farmers change in the production process.

Magadzi said this when launching the provincial Agro-Processing, a trading brand of Norjax (Pty) Ltd, in Politsi outside Tzaneen on Tuesday.

The company was formed after the farming community of about 2000 tomato growers bought 51percent shares at Neotech Industries, a tomato processing company in Limpopo.

The farmers were funded by the department of agriculture to the tune of R17million to acquire shares as part of the Limpopo Agricultural and Rural Development programme

The MEC said the move would ensure that the entire production-based infrastructure was put to full use and farmers were directly linked with the markets.

She said that the move would provide an opportunity for farmers to participate in commercial farming.

Limpopo Tomato Growers Association chairperson Walter Moketla said the joint venture would help them increase tomato production without fear of losing their stock in the hands of unreliable suppliers.

He said the company had brought relief to tomato growers who were stressed as their produce rot in the hands of middlemen who made them fail to make profit.

Former Neotech Industries managing director Hennie Kleinhans said they offered the shares to the association due to a lack of tomato supply.

"We were running out of tomato supply. So by allowing them in means that we are going to have enough supply of tomatoes," said Kleinhans.


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