Taking emerging commercial farmers seriously

Source: Robin Fredericks, Bizcommunity, 16 Oct 2020, photo credit: Fombina Times

This year’s Africa Brand Summit, which took place between 5-8 October as a hybrid event, saw CEO of Green Terrace, Mbali Nwoko, share her thoughts around food value chains and what key challenges emerging commercial farmers are facing. She focused on whether or not these challenges are unique to South Africa or the African continent as a whole, and what these farmers can do to have their voices heard and taken seriously by policymakers.

One key challenge, said Nwoko, that is faced by emerging farmers in South Africa is the lack of blended finance. “A number of farmers struggle to raise finance on their farms, whether it’s on a business or personal capacity, and the reason for this is because a number of financial institutions have rigid financing models and requirements that do not meet the farmers’ needs and/ or profiles.”

Being a commercial farmer herself, Nwoko attested to how difficult it is to raise finance for her own agribusiness – a business dealing in vegetable farming, comprising high value crops such baby marrow, green pepper, green bean, and supplies to some leading retailers, food processing companies and the fresh produce market across South Africa – and is considered to be a part of the primary agricultural space, which there isn’t really a huge appetite for.
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The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.