Agricultural investment opportunities in Amathole

Amathole district in the Eastern Cape offers exciting agricultural investment opportunities to potential investors. The Amathole district, located on the coast between the Fish River in the west and the Mbashe River in the east, has tremendous agricultural development potential. It has temperate coastal climate, relatively good soils and is well endowed with water resources. Citrus, pineapple, stone fruit, berries, sweet peppers, tomatoes, maize, vegetables and tropical fruit are just some of the produce currently produced in the district. The good vegetation in the district also offers significant opportunities for livestock farming. The demand for chicken from the 1.6 million residents of Amathole district and Buffalo City metro also offers significant opportunity for poultry farming.
Various government partners are busy in revitalising and upgrading the existing irrigation schemes in the lower Fish River, Kat River, Tyume River, Keiskamma River, Kubusi River and Mbashe River that are currently significantly underutilised. This is to support the investments of more than R300-million by private investors, the IDC and various government departments in expanding citrus, dairy and blueberry production amongst emerging farmers within these irrigation schemes.

The Amathole district is home to agricultural training and research institutes such as the University of Fort Hare, Walter Sisulu University, Lovedale FET College, King Hintsa FET College, Fort Cox College of Agriculture, Dohne Agricultural Research Centre, Mpofu Agricultural Training Centre and various agricultural high schools.

Aspire, the economic development agency of the Amathole District Municipality established in 2005, aims to create sustainable rural communities and small towns that. The district has in excess of 250 000 unemployed adults within the rural communities, most living on high potential, rural agricultural land that is underutilised. Aspire currently supports the establishment of community-owned commercial agricultural enterprises throughout the district, in particular in niche, high-value agricultural products such as blueberries, honey, essential oils, bamboo and organic vegetables.

Aspire understands that the key constraints to sustainable agricultural businesses in Amathole are secure, long-term access to land, poor public infrastructure, shortage of commercial agricultural expertise, and poor access to consumer markets. Aspire has various partnership agreements and working relationships with strategic government departments, funders, municipalities, and local communities to address some of these constraints. Aspire offers to facilitate development of community-private partnerships between strategic agricultural investors and local communities that will develop the latent agricultural land assets of communities, create jobs and economically empower local communities.

The existing and future primary agricultural production in Amathole also offers various agro-processing investment opportunities in the small towns within Amathole, such as:

– Honey: Bottling honey, bees wax, honey meadery
– Berries: Pack house, juice and jam manufacturing,
– Tomatoes: Puree, juice manufacturing
– Wattle & bamboo: Bio-coal, compost, wood chips
– Essential oils: Manufacturing niche consumer goods (soaps, shampoo, candles, herbal medicine, etc)
– Vegetables: Packing and processing
– Micro maize milling
– Cattle and poultry: abattoirs, leather tannery, wool wash

Investors wanting to partner with local communities and invest in the agricultural and/or agri-processing opportunities within Amathole district should contact Aspire.