Massive potential for growth within the KZN South Coast’s agricultural sector
Image supplied by SCTIE
“Agricultural value chains are a key pillar of the economy. Their development is a government policy priority and presents a myriad of opportunities for investors.”
- Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and InvestSA
Against the backdrop of the climate crisis, food security continues to be a global priority, prompting the need for increased food production. With the subtropical climate, nutrient-rich soil, and vast natural endowments of the KZN South Coast, agriculture is not only an established sector, but one positioned for massive growth – with the right investment!
The document, South Africa: Replete with Opportunities for a Better World, compiled by the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and InvestSA states that government has implemented master plans to ‘increase domestic consumption and export-orientation, improve competitiveness, raise production and promote investment in the [agricultural] sector’.
“Agriculture remains one of the KZN South Coast’s economic drivers because of the favourable climate, but its location is also key to opening up the export market beyond the region,”
commented Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE), the official economic development arm of the KZN South Coast.
“As a component of the Eastern Seaboard Development, the economic linkages between KZN and the Eastern Cape are being strengthened for increased domestic opportunities. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement takes this further by opening up opportunities for the development of export markets into the continent. And the accessibility to national roads and the Durban Harbour expands this reach into the global economy as well.”
Agricultural opportunities on the KZN South Coast
1. Organic Production
There is a rising demand for organic food that is being driven by several factors. As the Forbes article, 3 Reasons to Rethink Where Your Food Comes from in 2022, states:“It’s no coincidence that industries like organic farming and agriculture technology have made gains as shoppers seek out choices that help the planet in its fight against climate change.” In addition to societal pressure, and health benefits, food inflation is prompting people to buy locally-made products over mass production.
The 7.5-hectare Nomvelo Farm on the KZN South Coast practices strictly organic vegetable farming, the rearing of free-range chickens, and cash crop organic macadamias which will be ready for harvest in around three years. The farm makes its own compost and sells the surplus, and while the supply capacity of its produce is large, SCTIE has identified opportunities for expansion.
Employing six full-time employees and four interns, the farm currently supplies the popular local restaurant, The Waffle House, as well as three local Wimpy restaurants. With the necessary investment, the farm can expand its operations, exporting fresh, organic produce internationally, as well as supplying vegetable combos to businesses and individuals.
2. Oyster Mushrooms
The 100% black, female-owned Oatlands Oyster Mushroom has its production headquarters in KwaNositha on the KZN South Coast. The dedicated mushroom production buildings grow fresh oyster mushrooms in a six-week cycle. The bi-weekly supply of this youth-owned business is currently 60 packs of 140g mushrooms to local vegetable retail shops, however, the right investment could see this production increase to meet demands nationally and globally.