Challenges in accessing markets will soon be a thing of the past for fruit and vegetables producers in the Greater Taung Local Municipality, as the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has officially begun the process of constructing the Taung Agro-Hub which will enable farmers to gain better access to markets in a more sustainable way.
A sod-turning ceremony for this first of its kind facility in the North West Province was held yesterday, Monday, 19th May 2014 at the construction site which is situated at Taung Agricultural College. The cost for the construction of the Agro-Hub will be approximately R10 million.
The MEC for Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ms Desbo Mohono who turned the first sod to mark the commencement of the construction works, said the support provided to smallholder farmers affords them greater opportunity to showcase their potential in contributing towards growing the thriving agricultural sector and making our country food secured.
“This Hub will create market opportunities for locally-grown agricultural products especially fruit and vegetables, foster the province’s economic growth and increase job creation while ensuring that fresh and healthy produce are available for the communities”, said MEC Mohono.
Mr Zamane Sokhupha of Dirisanang Food Plot in Dryharts village who is also the chairperson of the Taung Agro-Hub, said as farmers, they applaud the work being done by the department which they regard as beneficial to the farmers and consumers alike.
“Farmers are always looking for good opportunities to sell their products, and this development is not only good, but great for agriculture in the Taung area”, he said.
It is expected that the Taung Agro-Hub project will offer smallholder farmers in this area the advantage to share fresh produce market infrastructure and transport, resulting in positive economies of scale. The facility will allow the farmers to centrally bring in their produce to the Hub and subject them to cleaning, sorting, grading, packaging and labelling processes, for compliance with food safety standard.
The construction work which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the current financial year, will incorporate handling and processing facilities such as cooling services, processing equipment and loading facilities.
As MEC Mohono puts it, the establishment of the Hub heralds the department’s contribution towards the bigger concept on the stimulation of economic activities around the Taung area.