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Citrus farmers thrown a lifeline with R307m cash injection

IOL - THE STAR - NEWS / 11 MAY 2020 - 19.11 / GIFT TLOU

Citrus farmers have been thrown a lifeline following the allocation of a R307 million fund through the Economic Transformation

The programme will be rolled out over three years with a specific focus on Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, North West and KwaZulu-Natal.

Citrus farmers have been thrown a lifeline following the allocation of a R307 million fund through the Economic Transformation ile Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi /African News Agency (ANA)

Farmers need to ensure that they possess a minimum of 60% black ownership (of both assets and operations) as defined by the B-BBEE Act of 2013, while priority will be given to enterprises with 100% black ownership.

The fund is open to citrus farmers across the country and will be allocated as a 50% loan and 50% grant, with the Land Bank expected to administer the projects' loan portion.

The Jobs Fund contributed R188m, with the Land Bank agreeing to contribute an additional R116m in loan funding.

The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) pledged R24m, while the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and Agriseta pledged R34m and R12m respectively.

CGA general manager Lukhanyo Nkombisa said the maximum amount to be allocated to successful farming applicants was R10m.

“This is not a relief fund aimed at Covid-19 but this fund will come in handy for our farmers, because since the outbreak of the virus they have been faced with additional costs.”

Nkombisa said the application process was still in the early stages.

“We are expecting a lot of applications. I can confirm that on our database all our farmers have got access to the internet which is why we opted for the online application method.”

Jobs Fund head Najwah Allie-Edries said the agriculture sector was constrained, which is why they came on board. “Despite work done over the past few years transformation remains constrained, the usual barriers persist. The Jobs Fund participation will enable the CGA to increase the pool of black citrus growers."

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LINK : https://www.iol.co.za/the-star/news/citrus-farmers-thrown-a-lifeline-with-r307m-cash-injection-47808147

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