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For a year and many months after launching our website, “Finance for new farmers and SMMEs” was the most visited page and it still ranks in the top 10 along with “Careers and employment in agriculture“, “Beef cattle” and “Vegetables“. The query we received yesterday, relating to capital, is a common one and we thought we would share it here.

I am a new farmer in the field, me and my husband are intending to farm seedlings of spinach, beetroot, lettuce,shallots. Sorry so in us doing so we would like to find out what are the do’s and donts that make people not to get financial assistance,we black youth.

A book could be written on that question!

(1) It will help if you have a mentor, an established farmer who is showing you the way. It is in the country’s interests that young black farmers succeed, and farmers and farmer organisations like Agri Wes-Kaap [the person is from the Western Cape] are encouraged by their own consciences  but also by AgriBEE to help black farmers succeed. If you are approaching someone for finance and can show that you have access to expertise your proposal will receive more attention.

(2) Anyone lending money will want to know that you have a good idea of what you are doing and how you plan to succeed, so a business plan will also be important. Find the brochure about business plans at https://www.dalrrd.gov.za/Portals/0/General%20Publications/Training%20manuals%20Cooperatives%20BOOK%2007.pdf.

(3) It also helps if you have attended a training course or are qualified. Agricultural colleges (e.g. Elsenburg) offer short courses. Find a list of these on our “Agricultural education and training” page.

(4) The local department of agriculture has funds to support provincial initiatives. It will be a matter of finding the right person there or in your municipality.

We did a brainstorming session on sources of funding. I assume you have seen our page at https://agribook.co.za/marketing-finance/finance-for-new-farmers-and-smmes/

Best wishes, [and we signed off].

The well-thumbed copy of the Agri Handbook

An aspirant new farmer came to see us with a similar request some five years ago, before we moved our content across to the internet. We were about to point him to that chapter when he produced his own, well-thumbed copy of the Agri Handbook, with writing across the pages and several bookmarks and pieces of paper in it.

The then Department of Land Reform and Rural Development had told him he needed training before they would help him. He had achieved this, but upon resuming contact with the department was not getting anywhere. I listened, and received his story as a reminder of what it can be like “out there”.  One can be full of advice. One can point to information and contacts, but there is a line after which success becomes open to factors beyond your control. It is at moments like these that you can only pray for efficient, professional but sympathetic staff in our banks, financial institutions and government departments. It is in everyone’s interests.

A reminder of the Agribook which provides overviews of the different crop and livestock options. Go through these on the website, and/or buy the PDF or hard copy. See the options at https://agribook.co.za/shop/.

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

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