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Policy on Blended Finance Model Under the Spotlight

October 8, 2019

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

8 October 2019

The policy on the blended finance model is currently being finalised.

The agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, announced this in a speech at the Third Agribusiness Transformation Conference of the African Farmers Association of South Africa.

The minister added that the model has been piloted as a means to support the commercialization of black farmers. However, certain weaknesses have been identified that require tightening up.

Once the model is completed, it will be discussed with other relevant departments.

“We will also consult stakeholders and seek their contribution not only on the policy but as partners so that we can expand financial services to farmers according to their needs,” she said.

With regard to market access for agricultural products, the minister indicated that work was underway with the trade and industry department to identify new markets and expand existing markets.

Discussions are taking place with the poultry and sugar industries in order to develop master plans for these sectors “as they are going through challenges that may require strategic repositioning”.

According to the minister, the engagements help government understand the local agricultural value chain as well as weaknesses in legislation and implementation.

Recent animal disease outbreaks have highlighted the “need for strengthening our bio-security system so that we can have early warning systems that will assist us to prevent and contain outbreaks much faster”.

Other issues on the department’s radar include the management of animal production for food security particularly in urban and peri-urban areas and facilitating strong public sector research capacity such as prevails in the Agricultural Research Council.

The minister also pointed out that the recent merger of departments in the agricultural sphere “offers an opportunity for better alignment in programs as well as maximizing relevant resources while at the same time addressing the issue of access to land and support to land reform beneficiaries”.

As regards transformation in the agricultural sector, the minister declared that the deregulation of marketing boards had a negative impact on developing farmers and new entrants.

“The question we need to ask ourselves is whether or not the Industry Trusts that have been put into place have enabled the transformation agenda within the industry,” she said.