EU FUNDING WILL UPLIFT MARAGRA’S SMALLHOLDER COMMUNITIES

Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Illovo Sugar Ltd

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IN May 2014 the team at Maragra celebrated the signing of two European Union grants to support the development of the local smallholder communities surrounding the mill.

For the past two years, the team has been working on developing two integrated development programmes to respond to a competitive bid for funding from the EU, a long and complex but finally rewarding process.

The first is the Maragra Smallholder Sugarcane Development Project (MSSDP), which won a grant of €2.4 million towards protecting and developing more than 2 000 ha of land on the flood plains, of which 1 540 ha will be developed for sugarcane and 460 ha for food crops. This project aims to improve the livelihoods of more than 4 000 families and will be supported by capacity-building in business skills, technical skills and social development.

The second is the Maragra Sugarcane Outgrowers Capacity Building Project (MSOCBP), which was awarded €200 000 towards improving the capacity and performance of the existing network of small- and medium-scale outgrowers supplying Maragra.

A full team effort comprising the support and skills of the Agriculture, Finance and Procurement departments will secure the successful implementation of these projects and the upliftment of the communities over the next three years. The projects kicked off in September with a full social mobilisation programme which has raised plenty of interest and enthusiasm within the communities, local organisations and Government.

THE project development team who won the funding: (from left) are Pat Brenchley, Kate Mathias, Steve de la Harpe, Jorge Pereira, Alisdair Harris and Felizardo Mogole.

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