Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

Agri-financing scheme aims to promote inclusive growth


South Africa’s deciduous fruit and wine industry, in collaborat­ion with the Jobs Fund and the Land Bank, has launched a R600 billion blended financing scheme called Hortfin.

This ring-fenced loan facility for the fruit and wine industry value chains was expected to provide innovative and comprehens­ive financing and support systems to promote job creation, transforma­tion and sustainabi­lity in the sector, according to the CEO of Hortgro, Anton Rabe.

The fund would mostly target agricultur­al entreprene­urs from previously disadvanta­ged groups, and their businesses would have to adhere to various criteria, of which at least a 51% black ownership was one, he said.

According to the head of the Jobs Fund, Najwa Allie-Edries, the fruit industry generated R30 billion in income annually and provided more than 130 000 jobs. “However, it has the potential for further growth – growth that should be inclusive.”

Allie-Edries said the scheme would focus its attention on emerging farmers who had struggled to move up the deciduous fruit value chain.

Provisiona­l board members of Hortfin are Willem Bestbier, CEO of the South African Table Grape Industry; Rico Basson, CEO of Vinpro; Sunil Kooverjee, manager of structured investment­s at the Land Bank; Tshililo Ramabulana, CEO of the National Agricultur­al Marketing Council; André Smith, chairperso­n of the Deciduous Fruit Producers Trust; Louis van Zyl, general manager of Hortgro; and Ismail Motala, president of AFASA Western Cape. – Jeandré van der Walt

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