The Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA) disbursed a total of R15,7 million in loans 159 clients in the 2016/17 financial year.
The bulk of the loan disbursements were agricultural loans which accounted for R14,4 million of the disbursements and the balance were non-agricultural loans. A total of R7,6 million was disbursed to businesses in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality, R3,7 million to OR Tambo district, R1,98 million to Chris Hani district, R1,6 million to the head office region, R527,000 to the Karoo region and R514,000 to the Sarah Baartman District Municipality.
“The bulk of the disbursements went to primary cooperatives located at ECRDA’s flagship Rural Enterprise Development (RED) Hubs as well as to secondary cooperatives to buy feedstock for milling.
ECRDA is improving its loan repayment efforts. In 2016/17, loan collections were R13,6 million. The organisation continues to offer aftercare support to identify challenges early in the client businesses which may impact on loan repayments. This allows ECRDA to put measures in place to rectify rising challenges,” says ECRDA chief executive Thozamile Gwanya.
Gwanya says the ECRDA is also pleased with yet another clean audit opinion for 2016/17. “This indicates ECRDA’s financial prudence and this also indicates that we are a trusted steward of public assets,” Gwanya says.
In terms of programme implementation, Gwanya says a total of R22,1 million was spent in the implementation of the agency’s agroprocessing programmes. At the Ncora and Mqanduli RED Hubs which were initially implemented through a partnership with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and the DBSA Jobs Fund, a total of 393.2 hectares of maize were sent to the silos for storage in 2016/17.
“In the Mqanduli RED Hub, 257,7 tons of white maize were sent to the silos from the 165 hectares planted in the 2015/16 season. The maize was planted at only two of 13 primary cooperatives because of severe drought conditions. The harvest was processed into maize meal for local spaza shops. A total of R775,834 was generated from the sale of maize to the Mqanduli RED Hub mill. In 2016/17, 899 hectares were planted with white maize by 10 primary cooperatives in Mqanduli. The Mqanduli mill which has a 0,9 ton per hour processing capacity was fully operational in 2016/17.
At the Ncora RED Hub 135,5 tons were sent to the silos generated from 149 hectares which germinated due to drought conditions from the 2015/16 planting season. Revenues generated from the sale of maize to the Ncora RED Hub milling plant was R436,999. In 2016/17, 1,849 hectares of maize were planted,” Gwanya says.
In 2016/17, 1,164 hectares of white maize were planted at the Mbizana RED Hub. At the Emalahleni RED Hub 187 hectares of grain sorghum were planted because of persisting and severe drought conditions.
Gwanya says in the livestock development programme ECRDA spent R350,000 in the construction of three loading ramps and on livestock marketing. These ramps helped in the marketing and sale of 1,766 livestock units belonging to communal and emerging commercial farmers in the Peddie area. The sale of livestock generated R8,5 million in income for the farmers. At the Ncora RED Hub ECRDA spent R1,5 million building feeding kraals and supplying feedlot machinery such as a tractor, hammer mill and a feed mixer. By the end of 2016/17, there were 60 cattle from local farmers that were being fed at the feedlot.
In the forestry development programme which has partners such as ECDC, SAPPI and PG Bison, ECRDA spent R44,5 million on planting activities resulting in 1,287 hectares of trees being planted.
A total of 526 hectares were planted in Sinawo, 206,9 hectares in Sixhotyeni, 143 hectares in Gqunkunqa, 59,3 hectares in Izinini, 200,9 hectares in Mkhambathi and 151,6 hectares in Lusikisiki. A total of R26 million was spent on the employment of 1,129 people and on operational costs. A further R9,8 million was spent on the procurement of machinery such as four bakkies, four labour trucks, 13 shipping containers for storage, construction of five office complexes, two tractors with trailers and 11 fire-fighting trailers as well as a tractor-drawn grader.