Smallholder farmers march to premier’s office over stalled project

More than 100 disgruntled smallholder farmers marched to Premier Stanley Mathabatha’s office in Polokwane on Wednesday (September 23) to deliver a memorandum of demand over a stalled multi-million rand poultry project.

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Despite the provincial agriculture department spending R100 million on infrastructure for the Integrated Poultry Project, the initiative is yet to get off the ground 12 years after it was started.

The project was meant to benefit emerging farmers and create about 2 000 jobs but was stalled due to infighting between the provincial government departments dealing with it.

“We had a peaceful march and about 100 people including farmers attended,” said Padi Motuku, chairperson of the Limpopo Poultry Farmers’ Association. The premier was given 14 days to respond to the memorandum.

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Among other things, the memorandum called for the project to be opened or the ANC would lose votes in the 2016 local government elections. “If they want to win the elections next year they will do the right thing and open that project because if we lose faith [in the ANC] we won’t vote for them,” said Motuku.

Ntsoane could not be reached for comment.