The agricultural sector in Mpofana plays a pivotal role in the economy as it is the leading sector and is a significant employer. This sector comprises a lot of diverse commercial and subsistent farming, which is essential for the sustenance of rural households and comprises community gardens and household farming. Moor River has a solid agricultural potential mainly measured in bio-resource group 5(moist midlands mist belt, which is classified as having 67% arable land and good annual rain). Commercial farming in Mooi River comprises various agricultural commodities, ranging from equine, livestock, crop and dairy production. The Provincial Growth and Development Strategy places more emphasis on the promotion of agriculture throughout the province.
Land Reform Programme
Mpofana Municipality is one region with a large percentage of farms acquired during the land restitution programme. Twenty per cent of agricultural land is now in the hands of previously disadvantaged individuals, and more of the land is still yet to be transferred. While this is anticipated to create an asset base for the poor and enable them to engage in land-related economic development initiatives, but due to limited resources mobilization, financial support,
integrated planning and support, the programme is now resulting in the sector experiencing unintended consequences viz; loss of high potential agricultural land. The net result of this is the continued prevalence of poverty and unemployment.
Livestock production is one sector in the Mooi River that has a competitive advantage. This is attributed to favourable livestock-consumed vegetation, good weather conditions to support growth pastures and an abundance of water to irrigate fields. Approximately 12 000 beef livestock are produced in the Mooi River on an annual basis. This commodity is marked on an auction held bi-monthly in the Mooi River stockyard and on auction sales outside the province. Beef production is not optimally beneficiary to the local community as the processing is done outside the municipality. The production figures suggest that Mooi River should establish its abattoir to market beef and other livestock commodities. This could present enormous growth opportunities for Mooi River's livestock production.
Mooi River is located at the entrance of the Giant Castle tourism route and at the heart of the Midlands Meander, which is one of the provinces leading to tourism routes. It is bisected by the N3 highway, a significant carrier of tourists coming from the hinterland to the province's coastal areas. The most exciting part about tourism in Mooi River is its strategic location being a gateway to Durban and Drakensberg. The strategic location presents enormous potential for tourism development because some tourists define the Mooi River as a resting point where various tourism activities take place. However, several tourists only stop turning off the N3 into the Mooi River to fill up on petrol and get something to eat. Critical is establishing hooks to get tourists to stay in the area.
The most exciting attractions are Mooi Loft and Woza Woza centre. Stretches of the river offer boating facilities whilst the upper reaches are fly fisherman’s paradise. Further upstream, the Mooi River falls are a marvellous sight to watch when the river is in flood. Outside the town, Kamberg rock art centre, Ezemvelo Wild Life resort, and the Craigieburn dam have camping sites and picnic spots. The predominant occupation in the area is dairy and stock farming. The Mpofana Municipality is home to some of South Africa’s finest stud farms, of which several offer tours to visitors. The king of the local stud farms is Summerhill which attracts clients from around the world and has won numerous awards for its offerings. Tourism nodes are reflected in the 2007 SDF.
Local demand for this section is defined as the demand generated by local tourists visiting Mpofana. It is important to note that from this section, there currently exist no studies that quantify local tourism demand. For this reason, interviews with key local tourism associations in the area essentially informed this report section, but statistics do not reflect the demand. It was ascertained from these interviews that most of the local tourists are from Johannesburg, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Highway areas such as Kloof and Hillcrest. Some respondents during the interview process estimated that up to 90% of visitors are domestic tourists. It is, however, noted that several tourists are stopping off tourists who turn off the N3 into Mooi River to fill up on petrol and get something to eat. In terms of the reasons why tourists come to Mpofana, interviews showed that reasons are related to the following:
Parents are visiting some of the many private schools in the area
Good weekend destination for a “Getaway from City Life”
In terms of the activities in demand by tourists in Mpofana, the following are essential demand tourism products:
Adventure tourism activities like hiking, cycling and quad biking that they cannot do back home.