Mzansi Agriculture Talk

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Government’s plan to finance and commercialise black farmers

If the country’s agriculture sector was to be transformed, then commercialisation and financing of black farmers should remain a top priority.

Delivering her budget vote speech in parliament on 16 July, Minister Thiko Didiza recognized that commercialisation of Black Farmers remains an important objective.

She said better policy instruments will be developed in order to articulate what form of support government will give in this respect.

Currently, she said, her department is working with Statistics South Africa to develop a farmer register that will tell us how many producers are there, the scale and nature of operations.

“This data is important in order to ensure targeted support by government, said the minister.

Another important factor to consider is Agricultural Finance.

Didiza said that financing of agriculture remains an important ingredient for farming whether a new entrant or established producer.

Currently, the Land and Agriculture Bank of South Africa has a mandate to finance established farmers as well as developing farmers.

Didiza said this is an important mandate, however “we need to reflect seriously whether given the current mandate and the financial environment in which this institution has to operate is it properly capacitated to undertake this task.

“Secondly, we have various instruments that seek to support developing farmers which in large measure are grants for support in infrastructure such as Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and land development which is currently with rural development. I have already instructed the two departments to look into areas of overlap and align. In addition working with the Land Bank together with the department we will need to look at how best we finance agriculture as a country,” she said.

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