In a move to empower black producers in South Africa's agricultural sector, the Land Bank, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), has launched the Blended Finance Scheme (BFS). This innovative program is designed to start the transition of developing farmers into commercial agriculture, thereby reshaping the agricultural landscape with an emphasis on inclusivity and sustainable growth.
The BFS is specifically tailored for small and medium-scale producers and agro-processors within the Land Bank’s mandate. The scheme's pivotal role is to assist these producers in engaging in value chain and aggregation activities, with a strong focus on achieving sustainability and growth. Priority is given to projects that demonstrate high developmental impact, signaling the scheme's commitment to not just financial viability, but also to broader social and economic progress.
Reflecting a holistic approach, BFS covers a wide range of agricultural commodities in line with the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan and Aquaculture. This includes grains and oilseeds, various fruits and nuts, livestock sectors like poultry, piggeries, and red meat, and different agro-processing sectors including dairy, sugarcane, aquaculture, and vegetables. Additionally, it extends support to non-food sectors such as wool and mohair, and industrial crops like cotton.
However, the scheme outlines specific exclusions to ensure its focus and effectiveness. These exclusions include politicians in public office, employees of government and State-Owned Enterprises, foreign nationals, part-time producers, and entities posing reputational risks. This careful delineation underscores the program’s dedication to ethical and transparent operations.
The qualifying criteria for BFS emphasizes the inclusivity and commercial viability of black-owned and managed farming enterprises. Prospective applicants and interested parties can find more information and application details on the Land Bank's website