South Africa’s biggest food producer is increasingly sourcing inputs from black women-owned enterprises across Mzansi. Tiger Brands now spends R4.2 billion of its annual procurement bill with black women-owned farms and other enterprises and says it is actively working to increase this number.
“Women entrepreneurs are playing a key role in providing either services or goods to Tiger Brands,” the food giant says. “Black women farmers, in particular, are a fundamental source of agricultural commodities used for the production of some of Tiger Brands’ most iconic and well-loved brands, including KOO, All Gold, Black Cat and ACE.”
At least 70 women farmers provide key ingredients to Tiger Brands. These include ground nuts, tomatoes, white maize, small white beans, sorghum, and wheat.
At the same time, Tiger Brands helps to scale these women farmers to operate at a commercial level in South Africa.
The company says it is using the opportunity presented by Women’s Month to celebrate the black women-owned agricultural enterprises and women-owned smallholder farmers who are breaking through barriers to achieve commercial operating status with its support as all of the form part of the Tiger Brands supply chain and contribute to creating thousands of jobs in their local communities.
“It fills us with great pride that South Africa’s most iconic homegrown brands have powerful and motivated women behind them who not only run their own businesses as successful entrepreneurs, but also create employment and bring positive change in the lives of others and communities,” says Mary-Jane Morifi, chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer at Tiger Brands.
“Their passion, hard work and love for agriculture goes into growing the key ingredients we use to produce loved brands that satisfy the tastes of our consumers.”
Family food security
Women farmers are also making a critical contribution to tackling household food security in South Africa where research indicates that more than 12 million people go hungry every day. Children are the most vulnerable.
“If we are going to tackle the issue of food insecurity in a sustainable manner, it is agriculture that we need to look to, because farms and farmers produce the food that feeds the people,” says Morifi. “It’s important that large organisations like Tiger Brands support the sector and build the capacity and capability of farmers so that they are well-equipped to ensure that all South Africans have access to a healthy and nutritious meal every day.”
Tiger Brands Aggregator Agriculture Programme
Farmers forming part of Tiger Brands’ Agriculture Aggregator Programme are supported to grow at scale and operate at a commercial level. Tiger Brands provides aggregators with market access and the opportunity to receive input finance, agrarian and technical support. Aggregators, in turn, enter into agreements with multiple smallholder farmers to procure the volume of agricultural raw materials required by Tiger Brands.
Mpumi Maesela and Lusanda Moletsane are two of Tiger Brands’ most successful women agriculture aggregators.
Mpumi Maesela, director of SE Holdings, has been a Tiger Brands agriculture aggregator since 2020 and has since supplied Tiger Brands with A-grade small white beans. Maesela works closely with smallholder farmers across KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo and the Free State to procure Tiger Brands commodities and provides them with agri-fundamentals to support growing businesses.
Maesela is from rural Eastern Cape and says that, although her background is in the finance sector, her true passion is farming and her ambition is to make farming “cool”.
Lusanda Moletsane’s agri company, Khumo Ea Tsabo, also produces small white beans for Tiger Brands. In 2021, Moletsane’s two farming clusters in Nigel and Bronkhorstspruit yielded around 500 tonnes of produce.
Moletsane leans on her mentors for guidance, believing there is always something new to learn and says her aim is to help “feed the nation”.
Tiger Brands says it works consistently to help transform the South African agricultural sector through its Aggregator Programme and is continuously on the lookout for eligible black women farmers who, amongst other criteria, have a desire and passion for farming, as well as access to land with the required natural resources such as water.
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