Emerging potato farmers are set to benefit the most from McCain Foods SA’s R500-million potato processing expansion investment project at its Delmas, Mpumalanga plant, said the company’s managing director, Owen Porteus.
Speaking during a visit to the plant by the Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean, Porteus said the investment will have significant benefit for the SA agricultural sector, especially emerging potato producers.
The company’s current production stands at between 90 000 and 100 000 tons of raw materials per year. This will be increased to 150 000 tons of raw potatoes which are expected to produce 75 000 tons of finished material.
“We are working with 300 farmers, 60 of them being potato farmers. Our intended production increase is meant to benefit black farmers mainly. We are currently working with farmers in Makhatini in northern KwaZulu-Natal, who are producing potatoes for us on a 165ha plot,” Porteus said.
The company gets 10 000 tons per year of supply from emerging farmers in Lichtenburg and is planning to start working with a group of black female farmers in Bronkhorstspruit.
He said bringing new farmers into the supply chain will see McCain cutting its import costs. The company imports 50 000 tons of raw materials, giving them about 25 000 tons of finished product.
Mpumalanga premier Thabang Makwetla welcomed the development, saying it will not only create jobs in Delmas but also in other parts of the country as production increases. – Fidelis Zvomuya
McCain Foods SA managing director Owen Porteus said emerging potato producers will benefit from the company’s R500-million potato processing expansion investment project in Delmas, Mpumalanga.