The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) administered Imvaba Co-operative Fund says it has allocated a R3.357 million (€212.000) incentive to seven co-operatives to boost potato production in the OR Tambo District Municipality.
The incentive has been spread over a three-year period and it is being used to buy fertilisers, seeds and pesticides and for the hiring of production equipment for the co-operatives.
Support for the potato industry is meant to boost local production and the regional economy. Potatoes are the most consumed product in the OR Tambo District Municipality which means an estimated R10 billion (€633 mln) leaves the region every year.
This is because 95 % of potatoes in the OR Tambo District Municipality are sourced from other regions - 55% from neighbouring districts Joe Gqabi and Kokstad/Underberg, and 40% from Gauteng, Northern Cape, Free State and the Western Cape.
“Already the support is bearing fruit. The Vukamntomtsha Agricultural Co-operative at KwaLink Village 15kms west of Mthatha has improved potato production to 18,000 bags in its 2019 harvest because of the incentive as well as technical and market access support provided by Potatoes South Africa and the Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency Kei Fresh Produce Market respectively," says ECDC chief executive Ndzondelelo Dlulane.