Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies will hold talks with food processing companies to share views on how the agro-processing sector can be expanded to stimulate job creation.
The agro-processing sector has the means to create jobs and increase exports says Rob Davies. Image: GCIS
The meeting, which will be held at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Bellville, Cape Town, will discuss ideas and propose possible interventions in a variety of matters key to the agro-processing sector.
"South Africa's agro-processing sector has the potential to become an industrial sector that can create jobs and answer some of the macroeconomic questions, such as trade deficit generated by too many imports against low export volumes," said Davies.
He said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has over the years supported the food processing sector through a number of investment initiatives to keep it competitive in the global market.
In 2008, Davies, together with the senior management of food processing companies in South Africa, agreed to the formation of a platform that would allow the sector and government to engage on various issues.Warning over fake agents
Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe has cautioned a KwaZulu-Natal community against false agents that overcharge them for relatively affordable services offered by the department and its agencies.
She was addressing over 600 aspiring entrepreneurs, who attended the 'Taking the DTI to the people' outreach campaign in Ixopo earlier this week.
"It is a fact that the DTI is based in Pretoria and has only a few provincial offices, but that is no reason for the exploitation of our people by the so-called agents that claim to represent the department.
"One of the DTI agencies, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), has offices in all of the country's nine provinces. Accessing services from these institutions is the same as being served by the DTI," she said.
The deputy minister said members of the community must liaise with community development workers as they have the knowledge to direct them to the relevant agencies that can help them.
"When these imposters come into your communities, interrogate them, demand that they produce their identification card," said Thabethe.
The mayor of Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality, David Nxumalo, said his municipality was committed to helping the DTI provide services in Ixopo.
The 'Taking the DTI to the People' campaign aims to empower peri-urban communities to stimulate job creation and sustainable economic development in the country, create awareness about support products and services offered by the DTI.