Emerging farmers from area planted paprika which is used in the Robertson spices.
A landmark agreement which will be signed tomorrow will see rural development agency AsgiSA Eastern Cape’s (EC) crops being used in leading food, home and personal care manufacturer, Unilever South Africa’s food range.
As part of the agreement Unilever SA will be committing to buy AsgiSA EC crops. The tripartite agreement follows a successful project between the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and Unilever SA in Keiskammahoek where emerging farmers planted paprika. The paprika is now used in Unilever’s popular Robertson spice range. The agreement facilitated by DBSA is primarily aimed at creating market opportunities for rural farmers linked to Unilever’s agricultural buying base.
Unilever creates new market for farmers
“As part of the deal, Unilever will identify the crops that AsgiSA EC must plant which will be used as inputs into the manufacturer’s line of food products. In turn, Unilever commits to buy these crops from AsgiSA EC creating a market for rural farmers,” says Simpiwe Somdyala chief executive of AsgiSA EC.
Unilever SA chairperson Gail Klintworth says it is important to grow their agricultural base in the Eastern Cape. The partnership with AsgiSA EC and DBSA provides the food giant with an opportunity to source local agricultural goods and this in turn will create jobs and contribute to rural development.
Unilever to buy from community
Unilever will also buy the community produced ingredients at an agreed price using a pre-agreed process once the projects covered by the agreement have been agreed.
“We’ve had our first harvest from the Keiskammahoek project. We’ve already learnt from that project, the need to ensure good crops for a quality harvest. The paprika is used in our Robertson spices. There is great potential in this region to grow other crops that can generate a stable income for the local community,” says Klintworth.
Somdyala says Unilever will be helping the rural development agency with market research while the DBSA will be playing a facilitating role.
DBSA, AsgiSA EC supports rural development
DBSA Development Fund’s Chairperson Prof Brian Kigali added that, “the support to AsgiSA EC is in line with the DBSA’s commitment to supporting rural development and sustainable community development.
“The agreement will be signed and will come into effect on March 24, 2010. The agreement will be effective for a period of five years.