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New fund to assist black farmers

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Black farmers who have historically been unable to access financing to grow their operations are being given a helping hand.

Government has set aside R1 billion to help black farmers become commercial farmers.

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), launched the Agri-Industrial Fund recently.

The fund, which is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic stimulus package for small-scale farmers, is being financed by DALRRD and run by the IDC.

It aims to help establish black-owned, large-scale commercial agricultural projects.

The fund will focus on establishing competitive contract growers in the poultry value chain; protein value chains, such as poultry, pork and beef; and other agro-processing ventures that support the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plans.

The initiative will also focus on enabling export-quality produce to be grown on community-owned agricultural land (restituted or communal properties) across the country.

“The broader agricultural sector is central to the recovery of the local economy but, most importantly, its objectives are consistent with the IDC’s role in increasing the number of black commercial farmers,” says the IDC’s Chief Executive Officer Tshokolo Nchocho.

DALRRD Acting Director General Mooketsa Ramasodi says the IDC understands the funding constraints black farmers face.

“We believe that this partnership will help break down some of the barriers to entry and elevate these farmers to become fully-fledged commercial farmers,” he says.

Through this partnership, funds will be provided to qualifying end beneficiaries as grants. There will be no pricing and subsidy implications from a risk perspective – a factor Nchocho says is the fund’s biggest drawcard.

“This key component of the fund aims to eliminate barriers to entry, thus attracting a significant number of black farmers looking to scale up their commercial farming activities,” Ramasodi adds.

The fund will be used alongside the IDC’s other internal funding products to support businesses through a blended approach.

For more information contact the IDC at 0860 693 888 or the DALRRD at 012 319 6000 or www.idc.co.za