Joburg Market explores ties with uThungulu District Municipality
Front row from left: Ms Patronella Telela (Acting Chief Executive Officer: Joburg Market), Cllr. Sello Lemao (MMC for Economic Development: City Of Joburg), Hon. Mayor Thembeka Mchunu (uThungulu District Municipality), Ms Jabulile Sangweni (Office of Hon. State President), Ms Cheryl Reddy(Chief Financial Officer: uThungulu District Municipality), Mr. Gcina Dlamini (Legal Advisor: uTthungulu District Municipality).
Back row from left: Mr. Thomas Mawasha (Joburg Market Head of Marketing and Communications), Mr. Reginald Pholo (Director Trade & Investment: City Of Joburg Economic Development Unit), Mr. Wandile Masoek (Joburg Market: Head Stakeholder Relations)
The Joburg Market hosted a high level delegation from uThungulu District Municipality who visited the Market on 17 November 2011 for a guided tour of the facilities and to forge strategic alliances for the agribusiness sector.
Led by the Honorable Mayor Thembeka Mchunu and accompanied by her executive team, the delegation was joined by Ms Jabulile Sangweni from the Office of the honorable State President.
Welcoming the delegation on behalf of the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councilor Parks Tau, was the MMC for Economic Development, Councilor Sello Lemao.
Referring to the recently launched Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) in which resource sustainability and economic growth are part of the City's development plan over the next 30 years, Councilor Lemao indicated that the City of Johannesburg regards the Joburg Market as a very important element of its food security and economic drive.
Noting that 42% of the poorest households in Joburg are food insecure (Study by African Food Security Network), Councilor Lemao said: "We believe you will find our discussions around the drive on food security interesting when we link the quest to empower our people with the development of the Market of the Future.
"With the Market of the Future, we would like to illustrate how the envisaged ultra-modern and compliant facilities will assist BEE participants to enter the world of dealing with large corporate clients and become part of main stream fresh produce business in our beloved country and abroad.
"On the commercial side we are endeavoring to ensure that the youth and women entrepreneurs get access to business opportunities across the fresh produce value chain," said Councilor Lemao.
Explaining the purpose for the visit, the Hon. Mayor Thembeka Mchunu expressed a fervent wish to establish ties with the Joburg Market to enable faster access for the rural farmers from the district to bigger markets like the Joburg Market.
She said: "The district has the third highest population in the province and is blessed with plenty arable land used to produce horticultural crops including citrus, sub-tropical fruits and vegetables. However, like many other rural districts in South Africa, the uThungulu District has its fare share of subsistence farmers who have the land as their only asset, characterised by under-development and high levels of poverty. It is this group of society that we are trying to develop."
The acting CEO of Joburg Market, Ms Patronella Telela outlined the Market's emerging farmer assistance programme and pledged support to empower the rural community of uThungulu.
"The subsistence farmers need to be assisted to become prosperous in their endeavor to grow. We will dispatch a team to the district to assess and identify factors that constrain the emerging farmers from developing. We will also look into ways to assist in respect of packaging materials and marketing of fresh produce from the district. Working together with the municipality, we will also explore the viability of partnering in developing a mechanised packhouse facility to enable for produce quality control - sorting, grading and packaging.," said Ms Telela.
The uThungulu District is located in the north eastern region of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. The district is easily accessible through the N2 highway which links it to other significant economic centres in the country such as Durban and Johannesburg. The district also offers a direct route to Maputo in Mozambique.
The development of the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone within the vicinity of the Richards Bay Harbour (largest deepwater port on the African continent), is serving to boost economic activity and attract international investors in the district.