Africa

Potatoes South Africa and partners sign agreement to address challenges faced by 'new era' farmers

AFGRI Agri Services, Kagiso Trust (through the Tyala Impact Fund) and
Potatoes South Africa this week signed a ground-breaking agreement aimed at addressing the major challenges faced by South Africa’s ‘new era’ farmers, according to a press release issued by Potatoes South Africa and partners.

Some of these challenges include access to technical support, access to finance and access to markets. The agreement will give rise to a sustainable solution that will involve the co-operation of three reputable players in their field of expertise to provide a holistic approach to these challenges.

Whilst initially focused on potato farming in South Africa, with the aim of establishing commercial new era potato farmers, the solution will not be limited to potatoes in the longer term, with the intention being to establish commercial new era farmers in other export crops, including avocados, grapes and apples.

One of the key elements of the solution is training. According to Jacob de Villiers, the CEO of AFGRI Agri Services, new era farmers often lack good, technical ‘hands on’ training. “Through Lemang Agricultural Services, we deliver support to new era farmers aimed at improving productivity through advice, information and other critical support services. However, what has made our training and development programmes stand out in terms of the successes achieved is the support given to new era farmers by experienced mentors, who are literally in the fields training the farmers, and with them virtually every step of their development journey.”

Under the co-operation agreement, Lemang Agricultural Services will provide joint technical assistance and training with Potatoes South Africa on potatoes as well as rotational crops.

Access to markets is another significant requirement, and here is where both Potatoes South Africa and AFGRI Agri Services will be key. PSA CEO, Andre Jooste, says that required off-take agreements, i.e. the assurance
from a business that it will buy the new era farmer’s produce, is vital. “Both Potatoes South Africa and AFGRI Agri Services have access to networks that include suppliers and technical partners in the co-op space to facilitate the required off-take agreements.”

Jooste explains that Potatoes South Africa and commercial potato producers are no stranger to the development of new era farmers, and already contribute to ensuring that these farmers gain commercial producer
status through PSA’s Enterprise Development programme.

He adds that it was imperative to establish successful partnerships with key role players in the potato value chain and beyond to support Potatoes South Africa’s Enterprise Development farmers.

“These partnerships – which we will tap into again – include, amongst others, those with Nulandis/AECI, NTK/VKB and McCain, which have helped to address various challenges such as access to inputs, finance, technical skills and take-off agreements.”

Read the full press release here

Source: Potatoes South Africa

Contact:
Potatoes South Africa
Andre Jooste, CEO, PSA
Tel: 012 349 1906
www.potatoes.co.za