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World Food Day: Magwa Tea company saved

Earlier this year, there were serious threats that Magwa and Majola tea estate could shut down.

Magwa tea is a black-owned company based in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape. The government has invested R100m of over almost three years into this company.

According to court papers that were before Grahamstown High Court in May, the government failed to come up with R48m of the estimated R148m needed to help the tea company to be sustainable.

However, the Eastern Cape provincial government later said it will not allow the company to be liquidated.

Acting Head of the rural development and agrarian reform department in the Eastern Cape Zoleka Makina said the government had already invested too much money and had no intention of letting their investment go to waste.

This at the time when the company had to retrench workers as there was no money to pay for salaries and other operational costs.

In June, Premier Oscar Mabuyane announced in a bid to save the company that Magwa tea would be procured by all state departments in the province, including municipalities.

He said the Eastern Cape government is working on a plan for the tea to be distributed into the mainstream market.

The tea was only available from the regional offices of the department of rural development and agrarian reform and a few retailers in the Port St Johns and Lusikisiki area.

Provincial rural development and agrarian reform department spokesperson Ayongezwa Lungisa added that Magwa management and Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency have developed a marketing and distribution strategy to guide its sales and broaden the product sales footprint across all sectors of the market inside and outside the province.

Now on Tuesday, Minister Thoko Didiza visited the more than 2000 hectre team farm as part of the World Food Day celebrations.

Her visit could be an indication that she supports the turnaround strategies and plans to sustain jobs, expansion plans and making sure that World Food Day celebration talks to the people on the ground.

World Food Day: Magwa Tea company saved
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