Development farming funding and how to access it?

The difference between a farm that is thriving and one that is struggling, is more often than not, access to finance, which makes it possible for farmers to attain mechanisation that plays such an important role in advancing the productivity and effectivity of a farming operation. There are several avenues farmers can explore when seeking assistance with access to finance in the agricultural sector.

Umsombovu Youth Fund
The youth fund offers grants to youth projects for persons between the ages of 18 and 35 years. Grants are allocated exclusively to projects run by the youth (18-35yrs) and funds are provided for production inputs only. To apply to the Umsombovu Youth Fund, applicants can download an application form from their website or obtain a form from any of their offices.

Eskom Development Foundation
The Eskom Development Foundation assists with training on business conduct, financial management and project management. The training is offered on request to small business enterprises. Eskom also offers a unique funding opportunity for the agricultural sector with their Business Investment Competition (BIC) in an effort to boost enterprise development.

With R1,3 million worth of prizes up for grabs in the competition, finalists get to compete to win their share, which they must use to improve their businesses. The overall winner takes away a R150 000 cash prize. Winners of each sector receive R100 000 - the first runners-up in each of the sectors receive R50 000 while the second runners-up each receive R25 000. All other finalists receive R5 000 each.

SA Breweries
The SAB Foundation provides funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises in order to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons through entrepreneurship development. The organisation has provided more than R67 million in support of 163 social innovations and disability businesses.

This is a project aimed at instilling a culture of entrepreneurship among young people between the ages of 18 and 35 by promoting business awareness through training, providing grants as start-up and providing mentorship and assistance during the setting-up phase of the business. The competition usually opens in May of each year.

Social Development
For community farming projects, the Department of Social Development assists with getting funding for subsistence farming operations managed by small groups. Funding is given to groups of at least five members. Social Development will assist in registering the group as a non-profit organisation (NPO) and getting funding for their specific projects.

Department of Trade and Industry
The Department provides financial support to qualifying companies in various sectors of the economy. The fund is said to be aimed at accelerating the quantitative and qualitative increase and participation of black industrialists in the national economy, selected industrial and agricultural sectors and value chains. Apart from just financial investment, this initiative offers post-investment mentorship, specialised training and specified guidance to ensure the sustainability of the business enterprises funded through this channel.

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Agri-BEE Fund
The Agri-BEE fund is the brainchild of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. The main aim of this fund is to promote the entry and acceleration of developing farmers into the commercial agricultural space. Through the provision of funding for equity deals, acquisition of financial implements and business development, the fund helps black farmers participate vigorously in the agricultural value chain. The fund makes provision for marginalised groups, i.e. women and youth farmers and people with disabilities to gain access to funding that gives them a competitive edge in the industry.

Micro Agricultural Financial Institutions of South Africa (MAFISA)e
Mafisa is a grant given to qualifying emerging farming co-operatives to help them acquire competitive business development services. The grant allocation aims to address the lack of working capital, access to finance, participation in the formal economy by co-operatives, especially those owned by black people - women, youth, persons with disabilities.

Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa
The Land Bank is the most prominent financier in the South African agricultural sector. The bank considered an agricultural development financial institution. Land Bank supports economic growth through the provision of agricultural financial services by means of operating in the money market. Land Bank’s broader objective is to contribute to rural development, stability, social upliftment and job creation in South Africa. The Land Bank offers tailor-made finance solutions ranging from short-term to long-term loans to suit the needs of each applicant.