Speech delivered by National Development Agency (NDA) CEO, Dr Vuyelwa Nhlapo at the signing of a memorandum of agreement and service level agreement with the Chris Hani District Municipality on the Biomass Pilot project at a Gala dinner on Thursday, 14 June 2012.
14 Jun 2012
Honorouble Executive Mayor of Chris Hani District, Councillor Mxolisi Koyo
Chris Hani District Municipality Mayoral committee
Honorouble Mayor of Sakhisizwe Local Municipality, Councillor MS Jentile
Honorouble Mayor of Engcobo Local Municipality, Councillor Lamla Jiyose
Representatives of the Ikhephu and Engcobo Cooperatives
Ladies and gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to stand before you tonight. This is not because I am happy to be back in my home province, but because of the reason we are gathered here tonight.
The National Development Agency (NDA) is always on the lookout for ways and means that could better the lives of South Africans, especially the historically disadvantaged. We commit ourselves to never give up when it comes to contributing towards poverty eradication in our land, by all means necessary so long as it is within the scope of our mandate.
Ladies and gentlemen, biomass is a new concept in South Africa and we are proud to be at the forefront of new ways of maximising the use of our land, in partnership with the Chris Hani District Municipality.
The decision to participate in this pilot project was informed by the fact that Eastern Cape has vast tracks of arable land in rural areas, coupled with LRAD Beneficiaries. Agriculture is a major economic driver in this district.
Not only will this pilot focus on producing soybeans and maize for energy needs, but it will also look at processing maize, using micro mills, into mealie meal which will address food security issues and lower the price of food in participating communities. This could further create 25 to 30 permanent jobs.
Our history with the Chris Hani District Municipality stems back from 2004 to date whereby we have spent over R9 million funding projects such as crop production at theMasibambane Shiloh and Qamata Irrigation Schemes, Tsomo Valley Farmers, Maqashu Sorghum Producers, Delindlala Dairy and Crop production Cooperative and institution building at Ikhephu Secondary Cooperative, to name a few.
All these projects have not disappointed us, they are doing well. This project will take our funding contributions in this district well over R12 million.
As part of our resource mobilisation efforts, we negotiated with the Netherlands Government to fund this project to the tune of R3.6 million, so that together we can improve rural livelihoods through food security, jobs and wealth creation. The joint contribution from both the NDA and the Chris Hani District Municipality will amount to R7.6 million.
Support from the Netherlands government through NL Agency and NDA has been provided to ensure that the project follows the procedures set out for biomass produce by the European Union (EU), which will enable the project at a later stage, to export the produce to the European Union with tax rebates, due to the project’s adherence to the EU's standard of biomass production which can be used to generate biofuels in an environmentally friendly way.
The oilseed produced, which will be soybean and sunflower, will be transported to Continental Oil's crushers, the main off-take for the produce, which is based in Randfontein and Viljoenskroon and the yet to be concluded Biofuel Plant in Craddock.
Even locally there is an advantage that whoever buys the produce can legitimately show that they are producing their grain in an environmentally friendly manner which is becoming increasingly important in the global & local community because of global warming and green house gases.
I appeal to beneficiaries of the two Cooperatives to please work hard and commit themselves to this programme, that way, all the Mayors and funders in this room will be encouraged to help you expand or help other farmers in your area. Remember, business needs commitment and dedication.
I am also pleased that one (1) job will be created per three (3) hectares and this pilot project, which will run on 1000 hectares of land, will create 300 jobs. I hope this marks the start of successful emerging biomass farming entrepreneurs.
A special thank you to the Chris Hani District Municipality for partnering with us to make this pilot project possible and to the Sakhisizwe and Engcobo Local Municipalities for their support. This shows that indeed, together we can do more to improve the lives of our communities.
Ndiya bulela! Enkosi!
Issued by: National Development Agency
14 Jun 2012
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