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Amajuba Agricultural Development Plan

The vision of the Agricultural Development Plan is to provide information to existing and future agricultural developers (farmers) to assist with decision making on crops, markets, investments, etc., thereby ensuring well planned and successful enterprises.

 

The Amajuba IDP has identified Local Economic Development (LED) as one of the highest priorities. With the establishment of the Amajuba Forum for Local Economic Development (AFLED) the need has been identified to develop an Agricultural Development Plan. Consultants have been invited by advertising for proposal to be submitted to the Amajuba District Municipality. Ibhongo Consortium has subsequently been appointed on 28 April 2005 to compile the envisaged Agricultural Sector Development Plan.

 

The terms of reference to the Consultants provided for separate plans for each of the three Local Municipalities, namely Utrecht, Newcastle and Dannhauser. Although responsibility for Local Economic Development is vested in Amajuba District Municipality, it must be emphasized that due to the complexity of issues such as the availability and usage of water, that close collaboration between Local Municipalities would be necessary for the proposals to succeed. It is also essential to form linkages with neighboring District Municipalities. Should the proposed dam in the Mzinyashana river becomes economically viable in the future for example, the Umzinyathi District Municipality needs to “buy-in” to make the project feasible, since there is not enough suitable land in the Amajuba District that can be economically irrigated from the proposed dam. All proposed dams would some or other way affect all the Local Municipalities and even other District Municipalities. DWAF would also need to be consulted at an early stage.

 

It was established in this study from preliminary economical analysis, based on rough data, that the main agricultural potential of the Amajuba District Municipality, in order of priority in terms of optimum land use, evolves around intensive farming, irrigation, dry land farming and stock farming. Potential intensive farming and irrigation projects therefore need to receive first priority when allocating land for agricultural use. Although it seems from the preliminary economical analysis that the proposed agricultural projects might be feasible from a financiers point of view, all agricultural projects would require substantial subsidization of the capital cost and also the initial input costs, to make it feasible from a cash flow point of view for the farmers.

 

Conventional intensive farming projects that have potential and are often on the “wish lists” of communities are poultry projects, piggeries, dairies and feedlots. All these projects require substantial subsidization to be successful and also aftercare for extended periods. It is recommended that these projects be implemented at places where interest and capacity is shown, in a pilot project fashion. The minimum recommended sizes being 10 000 bird poultry, 100 sow piggery, 100 cow dairy and 400 beast feedlot, for economy of scale and management reasons. Each hundred cow dairy unit must include the establishment of at least 30 ha irrigated pastures and 50 ha dry land maize and pastures for silage and hay.

 

There is presently limited water available for irrigation and the proposed Ncandu, Horn and Upper Buffalo dams need to be constructed to realize the economic viable irrigation potential of 5700 ha. As there are presently a surplus of approximately 23Mm3 available from the Ntshingwayo dam, irrigation development at a rate of approximately 380 ha per year may commence immediately, provided that construction of the Ncandu dam commence simultaneously, with the Horn dam middle 2007 and the Upper Buffalo dam middle 2010.The maximum irrigation area along the Horn/Ngagane rivers up to the Ngagane’s confluence with the Buffalo river, should not exceed 1400 ha. The maximum area along the Ncandu River up to the Buffalo confluence should not exceed 1300 ha (if the water is not transferred). The remaining 3000 ha could be anywhere along the Buffalo river, downstream of the proposed upper Buffalo river dam. The closer the areas are located to the dams the lower the conveyance losses will be. At the same token the previously neglected areas around Madadeni should receive serious attention. Some of the mentioned 3000 ha will fall in the Utrecht Local Municipality area, and further downstream also in the Dannhauser area. Some other less feasible dams are discussed in this study, with an estimated irrigation potential of 4600 ha. This 4600 ha should form part of the proposed dry land area to be revived, in order to secure these areas for possible future irrigation, should the economic viability improve. The total initial un-inflated cost including initial input costs, is estimated to be R 1051M. (Excluding the establishment of the 4600 ha possible future irrigation).

 

It is estimated that approximately 10 000 ha of dry land that would not be irrigated and that is not utilized fully at present, could be suitable for cultivation and requires reviving. These areas are mostly situated in the black owned/Land Affairs areas around Madadeni and Ozisweni. The total un-inflated initial investment required, including initial input costs, is estimated to be R135M.

 

There is approximately 30 000 ha of suitable, but degraded grazing land available in the area around Madadeni, which is not suitable for dry land or irrigation purposes, which require fencing, dip tanks and access roads to improve the meat/milk yield. The estimated un-inflated cost to provide this for the mentioned 3000ha, is R42 M.

 

FIRST REVISION MARCH 2006: Add the following:
Item 2.3.8  Comments by Ibhongo on document submitted by the NRDC on 13 January 2006: AMAJUBA WATER CATCHMENTS INFORMATION VERIFICATION MEETING RE: WATER AVAILABILITY

 

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