The bi-annual Tshwane Trade and Investment Summit opened on Tuesday running under a theme; meeting of great minds to boost the city’s economy.
Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa said the purpose of the summit was to showcase 18 bankable projects with a combined value of over R126-billion. 5 sectors were prioritised including agro-processing, energy, construction, automotive etc.
“These projects had the potential to create over 700 000 jobs. We have the vision to turn Tshwane into a hub of opportunity that gives life to the rights and freedoms enshrined in our constitution” he said.
Dr Yemi Akinbamijo: executive director at the Forum for Agriculture Research said the City of Tshwane was in his view capable of bridging spatial and temporal factors across Africa.
“The city stood the best chance of taking advantage of agro-processing as it was a value-add industry easily positioned to attract trade from neighbouring countries’ he further added.
Tshwane was positioned uniquely as it was the 3rd largest city in the world due to its agricultural footprint – “thus providing opportunities to develop agro-processing industries” Mayor Mokgalapa said.
But some believed the City was not genuine in its quest to invest in agriculture especially for emerging agro-processors and farmers.
“How many of us are in agro-processing in Tshwane? TEDA has the stats but is unwilling to fully fund our enterprises. As black emerging agro-processors we were only good for participating in local and international exhibitions” said one of the emerging agro-processors who preferred to remain anonymous.
The Tshwane Economic Development Agency (TEDA) is looking to invest R1,7 billion in building the Tshwane Agro Processing Hub which will oversee the creation of 350 jobs. The processing facility will produce products related to food and beverages.
“The hub will focus on a combination of mass and niche food processing, consequently defining nine processing capabilities. The envisaged hub will capitalise on the large tracts of available farmland in Tshwane and the Tshwane Fresh Produce Market” said TEDA official statement.
The summit also concurred with the view that 10% of future food will come from the expansion of land for production.