Minister Of Small Business Development And Sab Introduce “Women In Maize” Initiative To Empower Women Farmers

Johannesburg. 19 November 2015. The Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, along with the South African Breweries (SAB) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), will partner in a R20-million investment initiative to fast track the inclusion of black emerging women farmers into the formal economy. This will be achieved by supporting the development of emerging women-owned enterprises into sustainable entities that will supply SAB.

Called “Women in Maize”, the initiative will support women farmers with, amongst others, access to finance, technical expertise support, capacity building, business training and mentorship, and access to markets.

Through the Department of Small of Business Development (DSBD), the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) will also play a crucial role in strengthening the support provided to the farmers through additional financing and cooperative business skills training.

The initiative forms part of SAB’s long standing Go Farming programme which is designed to address the many challenges encountered by emerging farmers.

“Women in Maize" takes a holistic approach to afford maize farming women-owned cooperatives the opportunity to access several support structures which will strengthen their capability as sustainable, reliable and competitive agricultural enterprises able to be integrated in the brewer’s supply chain.

The first phase of the initiative will target around 100 emerging farmers in Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal and their selection to participate in the programme will be based on various criteria including size of land, unrestricted access to land and its farming history, as well as the investment readiness of the enterprise. The planting of the yellow maize cultivars, will take place during November 2015. The project is estimated to deliver 16 000 tons of yellow maize that SAB will purchase from the farmers through appointed agencies.

“This is just one of the ways in which SAB is strengthening its response to government’s call for big business to take responsibility and a leadership role in the creation of sustainable jobs, particularly in the agriculture sector, as a means of effectively addressing the increasing challenge of unemployment across South Africa and building the country’s economy, ” says Monwabisi Fandeso, SAB Executive Director Corporate Affairs and Transformation.

One of the objectives of the country’s National Development Plan is to encourage the growth of the rural economy and the creation of at least one-million jobs in agriculture, identified as instrumental to achieving this goal.

“We continue to call on corporate companies who understand their role in the reconstruction and development of our country to play their part in growing and strengthening small business and co-operatives. I wish to commend SAB for their contribution and hope other corporate players will emulate this noble example, ” says Minister Zulu.

SAB has designed several initiatives, including Women in Maize, to contribute towards the objective of job creation.

These initiatives form part of SAB’s strategic sustainable development framework, Prosper, introduced in late 2014. Prosper takes a targeted approach towards building strong South African communities and highlights tangible targets to be achieved by the company over the next five years in the areas of responsible alcohol consumption, securing water resources, reducing waste and carbon emissions, supporting small enterprises, including emerging farmers, and the support of responsible and sustainable land use for brewing crops.

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