Smallholder farmers and land beneficiaries in the Northern Cape will have until 9 October 2020 to apply for two major funding opportunities announced by Mase Manopole, the MEC agriculture, environmental affairs, land reform and rural development.
Manopole urged emerging farmers in the province to apply for the 2021-2022 comprehensive agricultural support programme (CASP) as well as the Ilima/Letsema grant. The Ilima/Letsema grant is targeted at subsistence, smallholder and black commercial farmers.
While the CASP grant will target beneficiaries of land reform, providing effective agricultural support to their immediate needs. The main objective of both CASP and Illema/Letsema:
- to create a long-term sustainability and economic viability;
- community involvement and ownership;
- target beneficiaries from previously disadvantaged groups;
- enhance national and household food security;
- provide once-off grant and not committing government to any form of direct recurrent operational or maintenance projects grants; and
- project finance support for those agricultural activities having the required level of institutional and technical support.
The low-down for Northern Cape farmers
CASP support entails on and off farm infrastructure, information and knowledge management, technical, advisory services and regulatory services. It will also include marketing and business development support, farmer training, skills development, capacity building and financial services amongst others.
Manopole says, “The department will provide 100% funding or support for agro-business planning and marketing. There are areas that support will be provided such as farm business plan development, agro-processing business plan development, linking farmers to markets and marketing information and marketing skills development training.”
The grant funding will be provided to small and commercial farmers who were previously disadvantaged:
- beneficiaries of land reform, restitution, and redistribution (LRAD and SLAG) sub programmes;
- individual black farmers who acquired land privately (without government grant);
- share equity projects where new farmers or farm workers are acquiring shares in agricultural enterprise;
- black farmers leasing commercial land on a medium-term basis no less than five years;
- farmers on viable units under communal tenure system;
- youth disabled and women in agriculture, new agro-industries will receive priority; and
- wards that have been prioritised under the comprehensive rural development programme.
Vulnerable farmers are a priority
The MEC adds that the significance of the Illima/Letsema grant is to assist vulnerable South African farming communities to achieve an increased agricultural production.
“It also seeks to assist farming communities to be able to feed their families and sell surplus to the market-thus increasing household consumption. The grant provides this type of support to emerging farmers-production inputs, mechanization and irrigation infrastructure,” Manopole says.