Agricultural fund launched
Financial assistance now being made readily available for previously disadvantaged farmers in the province
THE North West Agricultural Fund project will make a huge difference to farmers in the province, farmers organisations, says Prof Marekwa Legotlo.
Legotlo said the provincial government had always been supportive of the farming community.
“I want to thank the premier for his vision which I believe will go a long way in assisting our farming community.
“We want to pledge our support to this vision and we trust it will assist our programme of commercialising farms,” he said.
The provincial department of rural, environment and agricultural development on Tuesday launched a stateowned fund unit aimed at assisting financially struggling farmers of the province.
The project is mandated to provide funding to farmers in respect of agricultural development with a particular emphasis on previously disadvantaged individuals.
Department spokesperson Emelda Setlhako said the core business of Agrifund was to provide financial assistance to the farming community.
Setlhako said that through this project the department would look at farmers who did not qualify for grants or could not access funding from the commercial banks with a particular emphasis on previously disadvantaged individuals, aspiring farmers and those involved in small-scale agricultural activities.
“Part of its mandate is to contribute to rural development and stability, social upliftment and job creation.”
Premier Supra Mahumapelo said he was happy that the vision he had for the farmers’ community had now become a reality.
“With the North West Agricultural Fund at the centre of the province’s agricultural sector transformation, I am confident it will bring real and lasting progress to the lives of ordinary citizens and boost the economy of the province, particularly of villages, townships and dorpies. It will serve as one of the most efficient vehicles for the economic development of the province,” Mahumapelo said.
The North West Development Corporation said the project will plan, execute, finance and monitor the implementation of agricultural development projects and programmes in the province.
To meet the needs and expectations of aspiring farmers in Bokone Bophirima, the fund will be equipped with the latest technology and the necessary resources. The fund will utilise a sound business model which shall place emphasis on bringing new players into the mainstream of the agricultural sector as a priority.
North West Development Corporation CEO Tshepo Phetla said: “The corporation is honoured to be an implementing partner to the North West Agricultural Fund.
“By supporting agricultural projects and overseeing the funding thereof, we are contributing to economic development, sector growth, food security and trade. In doing so, collectively, we are addressing the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment.”
MEC Manketsi Tlhape said: “I’m proud to announce that the technical team managed to recruit and appoint competent officials with enormous banking experience for them to hit the ground running, hence the fund is operational as we launch.
“Managers and business development officers have invaluable experience as they worked for almost all the commercial banks in South Africa,” she said.
SUPPORTING FARMERS: Premier Supra Mahumapelo, right and rural, environment and agricultural development Manketsi Tlhape at the official opening of the North West Agrifund.