The impact of infrastructure on agricultural economic development in Bizana, Eastern Cape.
Ngcobo, Badikazi Lonwabo.
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The study sought to examine the impact of infrastructure on agricultural economic development in Bizana (Mbizana), Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape Province is one of the poorest provinces in the country. The province consists of predominantly rural areas and rural towns. One of the challenges facing the Eastern Cape Province is inadequate access to infrastructure such as roads. Poor road links keep rural communities “distant” from the mainstream economy. The province requires approximately 12 000km of access roads. Although government has programmes in place aimed at improving access to adequate infrastructure, South Africa has rapidly deteriorating infrastructure and this is due to under-investment. The infrastructure in rural communities is poor, as infrastructure development strategies historically favoured urban areas over rural areas. Although the province is faced by these infrastructure challenges the Eastern Cape Province has great potential agricultural land, and this is evident in the case of Bizana (Mbizana). The farmers are faced with a number of infrastructure challenges and these include access to water and roads. Quality roads enable easy transportation of the agricultural produce from the farms to local and international markets. Bizana (Mbizana) has a high unemployment rate, and the study aims to contribute towards the upliftment of the communities in Bizana (Mbizana) through agriculture. One-on-one interviews and site visits were conducted. The study unveiled some of the challenges that the farmers encounter and these included inadequate access to water, challenges with transportation system, market competition, fencing, drought, etc. Some farmers practise commercial farming individually.
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