South Africa’s Citrus Growers Association (CGA) has said that the funding released to black growers under the Economic Transformation of Black Citrus Growers Programme is reaping dividends.
“We are proud to announce that over the past three years just over R161.3m of this funding has been approved and R78.9m disbursed to support black grower citrus operations, creating 78 permanent and 625 seasonal jobs in total, and enabling 208 hectares of new trees to be planted. We are pleased that the programme has disbursed R78.9m to eight successful black farming operations across the country, with these funds being used towards access roads, land preparation, irrigation infrastructure, farm equipment, vehicles, fencing, packhouse equipment, a de-greening room, generators, a solar system, and a substation,” said the CGA.
CEO Justin Chadwick said: “While the ETBCG Programme was launched in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted its implementation, as well as several new challenges faced by the local citrus industry over the past three years, which has threatened the sustainability and profitability of farming operations. These include a major hike in farming input costs and freight rates as well as load shedding and operational issues at ports.”
The CGA launched the R307m Economic Transformation of Black Citrus Growers Initiative in 2019 in partnership with various entities. These partners are an initiative called the Jobs Fund, the Land Bank, Department of Agriculture, the Agri Seta, the LIMA Rural Development Foundation and a leading bank, First National Bank.