The National Emergent Redmeat Producers Organisation (NERPO) has renewed its call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to forge ahead with the establishment of the State-Owned Retail Bank ‘without any delay’.
The call was expressed recently, during NERPO National roadshows that were conducted in various provinces, where farmers expressed a lot of frustrations and challenges they are facing in farming.
Nerpo says farmers complained about the commercial banks and made it abundantly clear that banks are not geared towards servicing their circumstances and conditions of smallholder farmers and poor people in general.
Farmers are therefore demanding an immediate establishment of State-Owned Retail Bank that will be responsive to their needs, and aspirations.
Mr Aggrey Mahanjana, the Group Managing Director of NERPO said the banking sector has stubbornly refused to support small holder farmers in terms of provision of production loans as well as simple giving a fair amount of credit.
“This is despite the fact that we have been banking with these institutions for many years but they simply can’t bend backwards to support the small holder farmers.
“The banking sector have made commitment in terms of Agri-BEE Charter to support smallholder farmers and we have not seen any tangible changes on transformation of agricultural sector,” said Mahanjana.
He said no farmer can run an effective farming enterprise on a cash-basis without any access to a revolving credit facility. He expressed anger and frustration towards the attitude of commercial banks.
“The commercial banks focuses on savings from the poor rural South African, in order to enrich or give to the rich people, meanwhile, the poor people do not get any support in terms of credit facilities to run their own small enterprises. We want to be commercial farmers and contribute towards the socio-economic recovery of this country.”
He further adds: “when the President made an announcement during the state of the Nation, Feb 2020 that the State-Owned Bank was eminent, we were excited, and we wish the president can move fast on this matter. In order for the State Owned Bank to be effective, it must be supported by District Corporative Banks, owned by the people for production loans and other credit needs.
“By the same token, NERPO has requested a meeting with Banking Association of SA to discuss and address the issue of funding the smallholder farmers as a matter of urgency.”