Eastern Cape development agencies’ R113m forestry project nets 2 700 ha new afforestation
Backed by a 2013 R83-million grant from the Development Bank of Southern Africa Jobs Fund, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA), providing funding of R15-million each, unlocked projects in Sinawo and Izinini in Mbizana, Mkambati in Flagstaff, Gqukunqa in Qumbu and Sixhotyeni in Maclear.
By the end of March, R56-million had been spent on the five projects, while, by the end of the 2016/17 financial year, an additional 1 000 ha would be planted, with a sixth project established in April. The grant funding could currently cater for 5 966 ha.
“The forestry commercialisation drive has identified some 15 800 ha for new afforestation which will require an additional R225-million to establish.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for private and public sector investors to take advantage of the massive economic potential inherent in the sector,” said ECRDA CEO Thozi Gwanya.
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