Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Deputy Minister Nokuzola Capa and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and ENvironment (GDARDE) in partnership with Mogale City and West Rand District Municipality handed over the Tarlton Agri-Park and completed projects to 16 members of the Farmer Production Support Unit (FSPU) at a ceremony held at Vlakdrift Plot 4 in Tarlton late last week.

The Tarlton FSPU is the second Agri-Park in Mogale City to be launched and handed over to the FSPU, following the unveiling of the Camel Estate FSPU in Magaliesburg a few years ago.

To date over R43 million has been invested into the site, agricultural equipment and resources ranging from the construction of 2.2km asphalt paved road, multi-span production tunnels, an irrigation system, a backup generator, cold-rooms, 15KVA solar unit, 400kl Dam Sac as an alternative water storage, cold chain truck for aggregation of produce to markets, truck, and movable agricultural equipment.

Whilst the Tarlton FSPU has empowered 16 local farmers and yielded more than 62 temporary jobs during the construction process, overall, agricultural transformation is at the centre of government’s efforts to liberate and empower small farmers in rural areas to increase their means of production to play a meaningful role in the agricultural sector.

Agri-parks have been identified as stimulants for rural economic transformation and encourage market growth for the sale of produce, livestock, skills and infrastructure. They are also aimed at enhancing food security, agricultural productivity, and competitiveness by exploiting the complete agricultural value chain of identified commodities within the parameters of ensuring sustainable use of the natural resources.

Mogale City Executive Mayor Danny Thupane applauded all partners and assured the Deputy Minister that the projects are in capable hands. “We are grateful that all role-players continue to extend their hand of assistance to farmers and emerging farmers in Mogale City. In ensuring the sustainability of these farms, we appeal to the new owners of this facility to sustain this project to address the triple challenges of poverty, joblessness and inequality in the region,” Thupane concluded.