29 October 2003
The Western Cape government has confirmed a R265 000 grant to expand the seven-year old Dysselsdorp liqourice plant.
The plant – which extracts liqourice from a root that grows in abundance in the area – was initiated as a small-scale income-generating project for the community, and has since developed into a high-quality liquorice liquid and powder operation that exports its products.
The project recently signed a 10-year contract valued at R500 000 with tobacco manufacturer British American Tobacco to supply the company with liqourice, which will ensure consistent income for the plant. Liquorice is said to be essential for the manufacture of tobacco.
The plant is also engaged in talks with an international airline to supply it with liquorice sweets, and a deal is expected to be reached soon.
The provincial economic development department said the facility employs both permanent and temporary staff, which has helped to reduce the area’s high unemployment rate, estimated at 40 percent. Last year, the plant generated turnover of R900 000.
The province’s spokesman, Thabo Mabaso, said the plant employs eight permanent staff on an average salary of over R2 000 per month, while seasonal workers who earn an average wage of R300 per week are employed for six-month periods.
Mabaso said the workers had started manufacturing liquorice sweets and essential oils plant, which will make the project more sustainable. “The essential oils plant is currently being built, and will add much-needed value and jobs to the project”, he said.