Home Farmer's Inside Track Podcast: R1 billion agri fund relaunches

Podcast: R1 billion agri fund relaunches

Minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, and Minister of trade and industry, Ebrahim Patel, joins the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast to talk about the recently relauched Agri-Industrial Fund. Other guests include Samir Ibrahim, co-founder of SunCulture; co-founder of AMARA NEEMA Agritech and livestock and crop farmer, Sabatha Segoba; farmer Musa Gamede; and American chef and historian, Adrian Miller

This week’s podcast features (from left) Adrian Miller, minister Thoko Didiza, Samir Ibrahim, Carolien Samson, Sabatha Segoba, Ebrahim Patel, and Musa Gamede. Photo's: Supplied

In a joint venture between the department of trade and industry and the industrial development corporation (IDC), agriculture minister Thoko Didiza recently relaunched the Agri-Industrial Fund. 

“The fund’s objective is to support the development and expansion of the agricultural sector by assisting qualifying black producers investees in developing or expanding, acquiring and integrating operations in prioritised value chains,” says minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development (DALRRD), Thoko Didiza. 

The minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, discusses the details of the new blended finance fund for black farmers in this week’s FIT podcast. Photo: GCIS/Flickr

“The fund will be based on an initial allocation of 1 billion Rand to the IDC from the DALRRD over a 5-year period to develop and implement high impact, large scale commercial agriculture transaction projects with black ownership of 60% and above, including broad based community trusts.” 

At the heart of the fund is economic development and emancipation, effective land reform, and giving black agriculture role-players a solid footing to not only perform here on home soil but on the global arena. 

According to minister Didiza, the national development plan acknowledges that transforming the economy also means changing ownership and control patterns. She also mentions that efforts to transfer productive assets ownership until now have not yielded the desired results.  

“A bolder approach in our view and more precise targets are required,” says minister Didiza. “Partnerships like the fund we are launching today takes us in the right direction towards emancipating black producers and transforming the agricultural and agri business sectors.” 

Also read: Blended finance fund for black farmers relaunched  

“The lack of agricultural finance as a hindrance to the commercialisation of black producers,” says Didiza. “It is clear that the funding cost is too high to enable new entrants to access funding and succeed in their farming operations along the value chain.” 

And it’s not just black producers that will benefit from the fund, but the entire country and economy. 

Trade, industry, and competition minister Ebrahim Patel. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

“The agriculture sector is an important part of the economy, that goes without saying,” says minister of trade and industry, Ebrahim Patel.  

The agriculture industry was named an essential service at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic a year ago. Minister Patel noted that the agri-industry showed absolute resilience during a time of global adversity during the Covid-19 lockdown.  

Minister Patel regards the fund as the mechanism that South Africa needs to further develop the potential of unused agricultural land that we have available to us. 

“We’re deepening the opportunity which comes from the capabilities that the land has to create new and bustling value chains of agro-processed goods downstream.” 

Listen to the full interview on this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track podcast. Find the links to the podcast below. 

Other podcast highlights: 

Besides the podcast interview with Ministers Thoko Didiza and Ebrahim Patel, this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track also has other highlights for the agricultural sector: 

  • Crop farmers listen up: In this week’s episode of Farmer’s Inside Track we list 10 crops to plant in autumn! September is not the only month associated with growth; March is also a main sowing month. Only this time it is for autumn and winter crops. 
    Journalist Dona van Eeden list the crops you need to plant this season.  
  • The use of solar-powered irrigation systems and agricultural extension services is cheaper and lightens the load for many farmers. Samir Ibrahim, co-founder of SunCulture which designs and sells solar-powered irrigation systems, explains how their innovation is changing prospects for farmers across Kenya. 
  • Farmer’s tip of the week: Our farmer tip of the week comes co-founder of AMARA NEEMA Agritech and Free State livestock and crop farmer, Sabatha Segoba, who advises start-up livestock farmers to consider grazing their animals in velds and pastures instead of using feedlot systems. 
    Listen to this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track podcast to find out why. 
  • Book of the week: Our book of the week is In A World Without Email by Cal Newport. The author sets out to pull together everything we know about how we ended up in a culture of constant communication and the effect of rapid task switching on both our productivity and our mental health. 
    Carolien Samson, Grobank’s executive head for strategy and Environmental, Social and Governance, reviewed this book on behalf of our farmers 
  • App of the week: With the Livestock Wealth App all the vital information connected to your farming business is directly set up to your smart device. You have real-time access to your investment and stay up to date with what is happening on your farm.  
  • Soil Sistas: This week we kick off the new Corteva Agrisciences’ Soil Sistas programme to celebrate women who cultivate the land, plant seeds and feed nations. 
    Powered by Corteva Agriscience, we will highlight some of the extraordinary women who are participating in the Corteva Women Agripreneur Programme 2021, a year-long blended development programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA). 
    We meet 35-year-old Musa Gamede. With a little backing from her husband, she has built a thriving farming enterprise in the Johannesburg suburb of Benoni. 
  • Mzansi Flavour: Autumn is fast approaching, making way for some hearty and warm recipes. Start soup season with a bang with American chef and historian, Adrian Miller’s soup recipe.  
    He also shares a guide to cooking soul food, so make sure you don’t miss this week’s episode of the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast. 

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