An impeccable start to this year’s Annual AFASA Young Farmers Summit included a lively panel discussion on access to land, funding and business start-up opportunities in Mzansi.
The panel discussion was led by Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and included panellists such as Herbert Mokena from the Land Bank Insurance Company, Angelo Plaatjies from Land Bank and Duduzile Shongwe from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
Shongwe, centre coordinator at the NYDA, said that the agency has a grant which allows farmers to get funding of up to R300 000. She also explained that they offer many different services which can help farmers start up their businesses, such as helping them draft a business plan, helping them develop their website and offering business operational manuals.
All farmers should have insurance
Mokena, acting executive manager at the Land Bank Insurance Company, spoke on how the insurance has greatly benefited farmers already, as well as on the importance of every farmer having insurance.
When asked about the benefits of farmers having insurance, he said, “Land Bank Insurance can intervene and support farmers when there is market failure. Last year in South Africa, over 10 million rand worth in crops were at risk due to market failure and because of Land Bank Insurance, they survived.”
Throughout the discussion, he encouraged farmers to get insurance and said it would give farmers peace of mind that their farms are safe in the seasons to come. “Insurance is part of the risk management every farmer needs.
Exciting time for developing farmers
Plaatjies, commercial and relationship banker at Land Bank, told the young farmers that banking with Land Bank is more beneficial than farming with the help of any other bank.
“What makes Land Bank different, is that we give you longer loan terms. A normal bank would give a farmer a loan for 10 to 15 years, whereas Land Bank gives loans for up to 25 years. This causes farmers to stretch their cash flow and create a bigger bottom line for their farming business.”
He also spoke on the fact that Land Bank takes a softer approach than other banks. “If you fall into arrears, we do not pull the plug on you. We look at which factors contributed to this; factors such as natural disasters, for example.”
Plaatjies ended off with giving young and developing farmers hope, stating that the bank is busy remodelling. Although he was unable to say much, he did say, “We are going to cater a lot more to developmental farmers. We, as Land Bank, are going to be more development-focused, and our task teams will come out to see what the need of developmental farmers are, and how we can serve you better.
“2022 might be a much better year for developmental farmers!”
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