A US$8.3 million private sector development fund to South Africa’s small-scale fisheries will help them to overcome their poor access to funding challenges, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana has said.The country’s private sector companies made available the multi-million dollar funding, according to the minister when he briefed media after tabling the ministry’s budget vote speech in the National Assembly in Cape Town on Thursday.
“The aim of the private sector funding then is to make it easier for the small fisheries players. We want to make sure that more funding is availed by the private sector and we believe that this is a very good gesture to empower the small fishing communities,” Zokwana said.
Delivering the budget vote in parliament, Zokwana said the fund would ensure that government empowered small businesses entering the fishing industry in order to truly revitalise the oceans economy.
“Government has invested considerably in agriculture to create a favourable and supportive environment for the farming community, particularly subsistence and smallholder producers. This includes the support provided by the development financial institutions (DFIs).
However, this support has not translated into meaningful participation by black producers in the agricultural, forestry and fisheries value chains, the minister said.
He said this meant that more focus should be given, not only to support smallholder production, but to increase the number of black commercial producers.
“Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – with the assistance of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Land Bank, National Empowerment Fund and Industrial Development Corporation – developed a programme to commercialise black producers in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.
“This is an incentive based programme that will provide access for small, medium and large scale black producers in these sectors,” he said.
Zokwana said the Land Bank has been identified as the grant fund administrator and will, together with commercial banks, provide the loan portion of the funds required to commercialise these producers.