A word from … Jannie de Villiers
It was a good agricultural year in South Africa this past season. Crops were good, despite the fact that the rain came late. The forecast for the new season so far is also very positive. The area where new farmers are really experiencing drought is crop financing. The risk appetite from commercial banks to finance our crops is disappointing. If nothing is going to change, we will not see any growth in this area.
Maybe it is time to have a proper look at the Credit Act to allow more room in the regulations for food production. We are also experiencing drought when it comes to government projects. There are enough funds, but why it has to be late every year is an answer that we still can’t get. The liquidity problems of the Land Bank are not helping either. This is the government institution that needs to perform well if development is their mandate. I find it hard to believe that the government consider digging SAA out of their misery, but not the Land Bank.
Yet, despite all these issues to get the crop farmers financed, the tonnages produced are increasing. The resilience that makes the South African farmers world renowned is also in the new farmers. ‘’n Boer maak ‘n plan’, is in the DNA of every farmer, irrespective of size. The Grain SA Farmer Development Programme has signed new agreements with donors to assist our farmers with finance. Some of these agreements are running over four years. This is very encouraging. The farmers in these programmes managed by Grain SA have done well and the donors are encouraged with the results.
Lastly, Grain SA made a new investment in developing farming. We founded a new Company: Phahama Grain Phakama. This company will focus solely on grain farmer development and will be led by the Grain SA leaders and managed by Grain SA staff.
I want to wish you a good harvest in 2021. May the good Lord provide us good rains, just as He sent us His only Son to give us a chance to grow and to yield good fruit upon His return one day. Merry Christmas and a prosperous new COVID-free year.
Publication: December 2020