Tiger Brands is planning to grow its enterprise supplier development (ESP) fund to R100million by 2022 in an effort to promote more black farmers to enter the mainstream agricultural sector and to create more jobs for the industry.
DURBAN - Tiger Brands is planning to grow its enterprise supplier development (ESP) fund to R100million by 2022 in an effort to promote more black farmers to enter the mainstream agricultural sector and to create more jobs for the industry.

Tiger Brands provides R40m a year to farmers through this initiative.

Mary-Jane Morifi, a chief corporate affairs officer at Tiger Brands, said yesterday that a thriving local agricultural sector in South Africa was vital to the largest producer of branded consumer goods company.

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“We have already supported 58 wheat and tomato farmers in both the North West and Western Cape provinces through our Dipuno fund, and our intention is to reach out to more farmers who need funding to support their businesses. The country needs more jobs to prosper as the economy is growing by less than 1percent a year,” Morifi said.

In the past six years Tiger Brands has focused on developing black farmers to be at the heart of its supply chain in an effort to progress the economic transformation of the country through targeted initiatives.

“One of the company's early key initiatives is the smallholder farmer development programme that was designed to create access for small-scale black and women farmers to actively participate in supply chain through technical support and guaranteed off-take agreements. The contribution of this programme to date has created 412 jobs in mainly rural communities and about 194 have been given to black females,” Morifi said.

Morifi said Tiger Brands not only provided funding by giving out loans, but it ensured that the farmers have the markets to sell their produce.

“We buy from the farmers so we help them to produce the right quality that we require from them and we give them support, helping them with the soil preparation and fertiliser, to name just a few of the supports we provide,” Morifi said.

In the future, Morifi said the company wanted to look beyond the wheat and tomato farmers to include other products like white beans and groundnuts.

“These are the produce that the company require because we use ground nuts to manufacture our Black Cat peanut butter, so we ensure that they have the market for their produce,” she said.

She added that the company was already engaging with farmers in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo to absorb them in their supply chain business.

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