SOUTH AFRICA – Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) Mintirho Foundation has recorded significant progress in ambitions of funding farmers marked by US$16.56 million (R240m) capital allocated to various projects.

The Foundation provides funding in the form of grants, loans or equity as well as training to help identified farmers integrate into the CCBSA and broader agricultural value chains.

“Since the Foundation began its funding in 2018, we have committed R240 million (US$16.56m) to 25 projects around the country.

“The bulk of these are related to sugarcane growing, with the rest covering various fruits and vegetables, as well as fertiliser and logistics.

“Although it is still early days for us, we are delighted to say that we on track to create 1540 new jobs in the rural economy, where jobs are desperately needed,” said Noxolo Kahlana, Head of Mintirho Foundation, CCBSA.

Kahlana said that 57 percent of the beneficiaries employees are black women while noting that empowering women catalyses social transformation.

“This is important not only because rural women are greatly in need of upliftment, but because women invest in their families and communities significantly more than men, thus creating a beneficial ripple effect.”

The Foundation recently entered into an innovative partnership with the South African Farmers’ Development Association (SAFDA) to help develop a fertiliser for emerging sugar-cane farmers in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

The partnership also seeks to provide logistical support to help farmers get their product to mills timeously, reports IOL Business.

Notably, the foundation has also enabled Hya Matla develop technology to harvest the water hyacinth from the country’s dams and waterways, and turn it into a quality organic fertiliser.

In addition, Nirmala has also received funding from the foundation enabling the business, which produces a range of cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, expand its capacity and workforce.

This is just the beginning for us. We are working hard to develop a strong pipeline of viable projects aimed at transforming the agricultural sector and our own supply chain,” concluded Kahlana.

In addition to the Foundation, CCBSA recently announced that it will avail US$6.99 million (R100 million) over the next five years to support the growth and development of its suppliers. 

The CCBSA SME Supplier Fund is intended to address the challenge of access to finance that most SMEs face when running their businesses and support the growth and sustainability of black suppliers.

CCBSA said that it will make US$1.4 million (R20 million) a year available over five years at preferential rates to help existing black- and black female-owned suppliers’ access the funding they needed to deliver on new and existing contracts.