African, Indian and Coloured-owned small farming enterprises looking to expand their operations can now gain access to government funding up to a maximum of R5 million through a job-creation programme set up by the Dept of Agriculture (DALRRD) in partnership with the National Treasury Jobs Fund.

Qualifying farmers must satisfy a number of criteria, including being able to prove an annual turnover of current farming activities of a minimum of R200 000. They must have all the usual tax and registration documents in place, as well as a properly thought-out and presented business plan.

Livestock farming (beef, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry, but not dairy), horticulture (vegetables, macadamias and citrus) and cotton farming are eligible activities for the funding with priority being given to the horticultural and cotton enterprises. Farming and agri-processing ventures are included.

The money  is not intended to cover the purchase or lease of land.

The funding will be provided in the form of half as a grant and half as a loan, the latter portion repayable with 7,5% interest.

The project is administered by the Land Bank.

The project has as its aim to create 1 715 full-time permanent jobs, 3 720 new seasonal jobs and 48 new short-term jobs.

Applications must be handed in to the Dept of Agriculture by noon on 15 November. Blank application forms are available here and can also be obtained from the offices of the national and provincial departments of agriculture.

For more information, click here.

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