Johannesburg – Pick n Pay and the Land Bank have thrown their weight behind emerging black farmers.
The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday. This agreement, the first of its kind for the agricultural bank, will see it provide financial support for emerging farmers as part of the retailer’s Enterprise and Supplier Development Programme (ESD).
This partnership is also significant in helping Land Bank achieve its goal to transform the sector and ensure inclusivity, Tabby Tsengiwe, general manager for marketing and communications, told Fin24.
Pick n Pay’s ESD will also assist small and medium black-owned businesses by providing mentorship, training in food technology, supplier and business development and access to market. The ultimate goal is for them to grow and become commercially viable and sustainable businesses, said Tsengiwe.
Pick n Pay and Land Bank each have emerging farmers on their books. Besides the existing 130 farmers who are part of Pick n Pay’s ESD, Land Bank can make recommendations of emerging farmers it would like to be part of the programme, explained Tsengiwe.
“There is no limit to the number of farmers we are looking to develop,” she said. There is also no time limit to the extent of the MoU. “As long as there are emerging farmers part of the ESD with Pick n Pay, we will be supporting.”
Land Bank will be monitoring the progress made as the bank has to account for money spent, she explained. This is not a grant and the loan would have to be paid back.
Tsengiwe said future partnerships with other retailers have not yet been considered.
Support and mentorship
Land Bank chief executive Tshokolo Nchocho said in a statement that access to funding is just as important as mentorship, training and market access.
“While access to funding is vitally important for emerging black farmers and agri-businesses to get off the ground, it cannot on its own be the key catalyst for growth.
“These businesses require mentorship and the transfer of skills from established players as well as offtake agreements or opportunities for market access to be able to grow.”
This partnership is a collaborative effort and a Joint Programme Steering Committee with representatives from Land Bank and Pick n Pay will be set up to achieve the objectives.
Earlier this week, FNB and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also entered into an agreement to support black industrialists.
The MoU will see FNB share information on incentives offered by the DTI in a seamless process.
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) Tanya Cohen told Fin24 that these collaborations between the public and private sector, although not driven by BUSA but the entities themselves, is what the organisation was hoping would happen to effect transformation.
- ALSO READ: BUSA talks business on transformation
BUSA published a paper, released in June, on the role of business in achieving transformation in the economy. This included supporting initiatives like the Black Industrialists Programme.
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.