Table of Contents


1. Overview

For small farmers and other small entrepreneurs, access to finance is a crucial part of being in the game. Farmers all over the world borrow money for seed, fertiliser and other technologies or inputs. These are investments into the business so that it is able to generate products to sell. Finance is also necessary to market the produce. All of this requires money – before the farmer has earned a cent!

You need money to create money.

This chapter is a sketch, by no means conclusive, of the financial assistance to small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in the country, with an emphasis on those touching on the agricultural value chain.

When it comes to financial assistance, the aim should be to help beneficiaries become self-sufficient. Farming is a business just like any other, and if you want to farm you have to start thinking like a businessperson. I think loans, rather than grants, would do more to reduce poverty and generate value-added wealth. If farmers should get anything for free, it’s training.

Source: Peter Mashala 


The term “Emerging Farmer” is commonly applied both to farmers who are emerging in terms of scale and to farmers who are emerging in terms of lack of skills.

Farmers who are emerging in terms of scale battle with problems such as access to markets, quality inputs, land and finance. These farmers are no riskier than other categories of farmers. Rather, it is the environment in which they operate that brings increased risk. The business of a tomato grower in Giyani is obviously riskier than that of ZZ2 because the scale is smaller and market access is not there. But in terms of production techniques, the Giyani grower is equal to any top farmer.

These farmers need a financing programme that includes support structures. For example, if such a farmer can be assisted to acquire a contract to supply a large retailer, this contract can be ceded to us in security for his or her loan. But it is also important to look beyond retailers for off-take agreements, especially as there is large untapped potential in informal markets.

Source: Andrew Makanete 


Instead of talking about creating five million jobs by [2020], [government] should be saying we are going to create one million new enterprises by then - in other words one million new entrepreneurs with the freedom to do their own thing within an open, inclusive economy. If each of them hires on average four people, you have five million new jobs.

Meanwhile, very few captains of industry are helping to expand the space and provide support for entrepreneurs. Educational institutions have not woken up to the fact that the game of work has changed and, as such, they are still educating their students for the job market that existed 50 years ago.

Source: Clem Sunter