Monsanto, Buhle Farmers’ Academy and Mondi Zimele Announce Development Partnership with the Jobs Fund to Assist Farmers

4/5/2016

PRETORIA – Monsanto South Africa, the Buhle Farmers’ Academy and Mondi Zimele announced a partnership to establish small-holder farmers in rural areas Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The collaboration will help ensure that individuals in these rural areas  have access to technical, production, managerial, financial, marketing skills and business support services  needed to farm.

With limited employment opportunities in the greater Piet Retief area, the economic utilization of available agricultural land is important.  These opportunities can, however, only be unlocked with the appropriate technical, production, managerial, financial and marketing skills.   The initiative seeks to generate synergy by combining the successful agricultural training and business support services that Buhle Farmers’ Academy has developed, with the extensive SMME business skills development and funding services of Mondi Zimele.  A new Buhle satellite campus will be established near Piet Retief.

It is anticipated that the project will create about 1757 new permanent jobs, 261 seasonal short term jobs, 1430 trained beneficiaries and 15 internship opportunities. The plan is to establish and support 668 sustainable farming enterprises.

The total monetary value of the four year project is R63,7 million with Treasury’s Jobs Fund providing R26,9 million and equivalent matched funding provided by Monsanto SA R7,5 million plus contributions by Buhle, MZ and others.  An additional R10 million will be available from Mondi Zimele for start up loans to farmers administered by MZ.  Repaid loan amounts will be recycled in order to help as many farmers who meet the loan criteria as possible to start and grow their businesses. 

Access to the value chain is particularly difficult and challenging for newly established farmers in remote areas.  The project will address this challenge by selecting potential farmers and equipping them with the necessary technical, marketing, business skills.  Mondi Zimele has linkages with potential markets that can be brought into the project.

Besides Buhle’s current nation wide reach from Delmas, many additional  beneficiaries of the project’s new satellite campus near Piet Retief will come from the greater Mkhondo area and adjacent areas  in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The initiative plans to assist individuals to establish farming business enterprises in these remote areas.  

“Being a company entirely focused on agricultural products and solutions, Monsanto recognizes that there are many challenges in delivering research results and training to the great diversity of needs, conditions and farming types in South Africa as well as the rest of Africa. It is clear that a range of approaches will be required, and especially those involving partnerships.  Partnerships are essential if we wish to create and contribute to a sustainable agricultural sector in the country. Our partnership with Buhle goes back more than 16 years. Monsanto donated a research farm near Delmas to start the Buhle Academy and was the founding partner who provided Buhle with the start-up capital they needed back  in 2000.”

“ The Buhle Farmers’ Academy is an important partner in the field of enabling farmers on the road to success.  Improved seeds, biotechnology, good agricultural practices and conservation agriculture are tools that undoubtedly  contribute towards food production and productivity gains in South Africa.  It is essential that these tools are made available to all farmers and Buhle is ideally equipped to ensure that these tools are made available to aspiring new farmers.  By assisting and training farmers in good agricultural practices, we are stepping out on the road towards sustainable food production and the use of resources and transformation of agricultural in the country,” Kobus Steenekamp, Managing Director Monsanto SA.

 

About Monsanto

Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices, conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, www.twitter.com/DEKALB_SA on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.

About Buhle Farmer’s Academy

“Training people in the business of farming”

The Buhle (meaning “It is good”) Farmers’ Academy was founded in 2000 and is situated just outside Delmas.   Buhle’s mission is to train new and aspiring farmers from across South Africa to run farming businesses that are both profitable and sustainable. The effect is that they will contribute to transformation in agriculture and help to alleviate poverty by creating jobs in the agricultural sector. Buhle’s approach to training is to supply competence based learning principles so that new and emerging farmers can be provided with:

·         A sound theoretical knowledge base in agricultural technology

·         Competency based practical skills development

·         Training in farm business management

·         Training in appropriate life skills

·         Effective follow-up and support services

New farmers are trained at the training farm in a range of accredited, commodity focussed learning programmes together with business management and are then  provided with on-farm post-training support and mentorship to assist commercial farmers to get on their feet and establish farming enterprises that are sustainable and profitable.

Website: www.buhle.org.za