Emerging Western Cape fruit farmers are set to receive R120 million in funding to boost their businesses.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said 20 black deciduous fruit farmers in the province would benefit from the grant which the province secured through an application to the Jobs Fund.
The goal of the fund is to support smallholder farmers to reach commercial status.
Minister Winde said the fund was a partnership between the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, National Treasury and the deciduous fruit industry.
The fund will be allocated over a four-year period. In total, 24 farmers across the country will benefit, of which the remaining four are in the Eastern Cape.
“The money will be used to renew and expand orchards, to purchase production equipment and for farming infrastructure. In the Western Cape, we have the goal of ensuring a 70% success rate of the land reform projects we invest in and this is why we are supporting this project.”
The initiative is called the DFDC Commercialization Programme. The Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber of South Africa (DFDC-SA), a subsidiary of the Deciduous Fruit Industry – will be supported by HORTGRO, the national industry service structure, in the operational execution of the project.
Pitso Sekhoto, Chairman of the DFDC, said: “We are confident that the beneficiaries of this project will be able to graduate into the mainstream commercial sector after the 4 year programme. This will not only increase the production footprint and ensure increased market access of our black farmers in the Deciduous Fruit Industry, but will also enhance their participation in the off-farm value chain of the sector. This project will also create 504 new permanent jobs and will ultimately allow space for new entrants to enter the sector.”
Farmers were selected based on the potential for commercialisation and job creation.
Minister Winde said support for emerging farmers was a key priority in the Western Cape.
“Through this initiative, farmers will receive technical, management and financial support. In the Western Cape, through additional projects, we are investing R259 million in the development of emerging farmers in this financial year. Over the next three years, we will support 4 195 new farmers to grow their agri-businesses.”
Improving market access is another objective of this initiative. To this end, Minister Winde welcomed the news that a new trade agreement between South Africa and Indonesia has seen South Africa being granted “Country of Recognition Status”.
The Western Cape’s Agricultural Economic Services Unit, which sits within the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, conducted an early analysis on the agreement.
“This agreement, which was reached last week, impacts 15 of our horticultural products. It means that we will be able to export fruit directly through the Jakarta port for the first time. In 2014, the total fruit exports to Indonesia were valued at R120 million.
“Through Project Khulisa, we have the goal of adding up to a further 100 000 jobs to the agri-processing sector and increasing exports will be an important driver of this growth,” said Minister Winde.
There has been strong growth in this market for South African fruit even with the more restricting market access conditions in the past. Apples and pears are currently the main exported fruits, followed by citrus and grapes.
Minister Winde said South Africa’s new status is expected to boost exports to Indonesia for all of these horticultural products.
“Jakarta is the main market destination within Indonesia where these fruits are sold. The new agreement will reduce the costs to enter this market and the industry suggests that importers from Indonesia are eager to buy more South African fruits.”
Research has found that a five percent increase in the real value of the exports of certain competitive agricultural products will lead to 22 951 jobs being created in the Western Cape economy.
“The Bureau of Food and Agricultural Policy conducted an analysis which found that increased market access in Thailand could result in households receiving a R53 million boost in income,” said Minister Winde.
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government