|Xhariep District Municipality|
The Xhariep district, previously called Gariep by the indigenous Khoikhoi people, houses the well known Gariep dam, with accommodation and leisure facilities mainly focused on water spotts. The district is the smallest compared to the other four districts with about 5.2% share of the total provincial population. Most of the economic activity in the district is in the agricultural sector followed by mining, especially of diamonds in the Letsemeng municipal area. Some of the well known towns in the district include Jagersfontein, Koffiefontein, Reddersburg and Trompsburg.
Xhariep is the only district municipality where the agricultural sector is the dominant exporting sector. The main commodities/products exported by the manufacturing sector are beverages, wearing apparel, glass and glass products.
Spin offs from diamonds mined at Koffiefontein contribute a major portion of the local economy. The farming industry is varied with an irrigation scheme at Jacobsdal producing crops such as grapes, potatoes, maize, groundnuts, while cattle and sheep farming dominates the Luckhoff and Koffiefontein areas. Around Petrusburg there is mostly mixed farming with potatoes and maize being the main crops. In Oppermansgronds vineyards produce significant income for the town.
The Orange River, a 2 000 km long river, forms a natural border between Xhariep and the Cape. The country’s only two hydro-electric power stations are situated on the Orange River, at the Xhariep and Vanderkloof dams.
Sheep and ostrich farming are some of the predominant activities in the Xhariep region. Other activities include wine-making (Landzicht, Free State Distillers); and the production of pottery, arts and craft products, agricultural machinery etc.
The region also boasts opportunities in leather tanning and finishing, spiraling production, cultivation of plants for medicinal, essential oil, cosmetics and culinary use. With dams such as Xhariep and Vanderkloof the region has tremendous tourism potential.
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