SOUTH AFRICA – Motsepe Foundation, South Africa based non-profit organisation, has partnered with the government run agriculture industry association, Agri SA, private sector players and leading financial institutions to drive agricultural investment in the country.
To facilitate the initiative, the foundation has set a side R70 million (US$4.38m) to fund two large-scale agricultural and farming projects involving rural and traditional communities in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The agricultural project in Mpumlanaga involves three sugarcane joint ventures covering 10 456 ha, which were established for the benefit of the Hhoyi, Siboshwa and Matsamo traditional communities. The project is being carried out in partnership with consumer foods producer RCL Foods.
RCL Foods and the Motsepe Company will each provide soft loans of R36-million at 3% interest, which is set to save about 200 permanent and 1 000 seasonal jobs courtesy of the availability of funding.
Meanwhile, the agricultural project in Limpopo is a citrus farm – the Majeje project – which is being established for the benefit of the Majeje traditional community.
The initiative is being carried out in partnership with fruit producer Komati Fruit Group and financial institution Absa.
The Mostepe Company will be providing a R30-million (US$1.88m) long-term soft loan to enable planting of citrus fruits on 457 ha of irrigated land. The expectation is that the project will create about 50 new permanent jobs and 300 seasonal jobs.
The Majeje citrus project will use community land adjacent to the existing successful Komati citrus farms.
The land is underdeveloped because of the lack of capital, financial and technical resources and the appropriate skills and expertise.
According to Engineering News, the R30-million (US$1.88m) long-term soft loan that is being provided by the Motsepe Company has facilitated the unlocking of about R90-million (US$5.6m) of funding to the Majeje citrus project from Absa.
Motsepe Foundation believes that the establishment of mutually beneficial partnerships between traditional and other historically disadvantaged communities, black farmers and established farmers is crucial for the long-term sustainability and growth of the agriculture industry.
“There are several hundred thousand people who live in the traditional communities in Limpopo and Mpumalanga that we are funding.
“We are making a humble contribution to their involvement in the agriculture and farming industry, saving about 200 permanent jobs, 1 000 seasonal jobs and creating 50 permanent jobs and 300 seasonal jobs,” Motsepe Foundation founder Dr Patrice Motsepe said.
More than R700-million (US$43m) of funding has already been spent in years past by the Motsepe Foundation and companies associated with the Motsepe family to contribute to the development and growth of agriculture and farming projects in traditional communities and poor rural and urban communities in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Free State and Northern Cape.
This funding has been used to buy tractors, farming equipment and implements, irrigation systems, and to carry out the drilling and equipping of about 500 boreholes and the provision of water tanks and water storage facilities. The funding has also been used for the provision of fertilisers, seeds and other agricultural farming inputs.
Infrastructure and other development facilities have also been built in these traditional communities, as well as in poor rural and urban communities.