The need for assistance was expressed to me by two of the city’s young emerging farmers. Specifically, these young farmers asked me to help them with training in financial management, and with access to capital.
Following this meeting and my subsequent announcement of the establishment of an Emerging Farmers’ Development Fund, I instructed officials in my office to make this happen.
Through reprioritisation efforts and identified savings within the Office of the Executive Mayor, which included internalising a number of planned research projects, we have now confirmed through Council approval of the adjustment budget for 2020/21 on Thursday that we will "seed" the Emerging Farmers’ Development Fund with R2 million.
This initial R2 million will allow us to provide at least 100 emerging farmers in Tshwane with access to capital in the form of micro-grants. The micro-grant is not intended to "help float" the businesses of our emerging farmers, but it is designed to assist them in procuring specific equipment and input material that will stimulate their respective agri-businesses. Financial training will be provided to emerging farmers as part of this initiative.
Based on the guidance and advice from agricultural experts familiar with the agricultural environment and sector in Tshwane, the micro-grants will allow emerging farmers to procure drilling and equipping services (for water), water tanks for storage, irrigation equipment, shade nets or tunnel structures for controlled farming, seedlings or seeds and fertiliser, as well as certain animal feed.
We believe this investment through our Emerging Farmers’ Development Fund will allow our emerging farmers, and the residents of Tshwane, to harvest and enjoy future crops with a significantly increased yield, and that the increase in their financial well-being will be equal to the increase in their crop yield.
The implementation of this fund will be through my office in collaboration with our Agriculture and Rural Development Division under the leadership of the MMC for Environment and Agriculture Management, Cllr Dana Wannenburg. This implementation structure will afford
my office the responsibility to monitor progress, engage with the emerging farmer beneficiaries and provide me with continuous feedback on this critical initiative.
Agriculture can be found throughout Tshwane, especially in Regions 4, 5, 6 and 7. These areas are also prone to extreme events such as flooding and intense thunderstorms, which can have a detrimental impact on agricultural infrastructure. In addition, the increases in very hot days, heatwaves and high fire-danger days will likely reduce crop yields and increase cattle and poultry mortality in Tshwane.
For the City of Tshwane, preventative action should also include water-sensitive urban design and promoting climate-resilient agriculture and ecosystems. The launch of this Emerging Farmers’ Development Fund is also at the forefront of these required climate actions, as highlighted by the City of Tshwane’s updated 2020 Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA).
The Climate Action Plan indicates that we should focus on implementing actions that will build the general resilience of the city and its people by raising awareness, providing training, improving health and food security, maintaining infrastructure and ensuring environmental conservation. I am confident that empowering our emerging farmers through the Emerging Farmers’ Development Fund to become more productive will build resilience in Tshwane.
The City of Tshwane would like to invite all interested emerging farmers who meet the prescribed requirements and who currently farm within our municipal boundaries to apply to the Emerging Farmers’ Development Fund for consideration. Application form and the requisite criteria are available on the City of Tshwane website.
For further enquiries, please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for applications is Sunday, 14 March 2021, at midnight.