Southern Africa could have had a record 143.3 million cartons of citrus fruit for the export market this year.
Southern Africa could have had a record 143.3 million cartons of citrus fruit for the export market this year.

Applications open for a R307m Black Citrus Growers Programme

By Edward West Time of article published May 4, 2020

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CAPE TOWN -  The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) on Monday called for applications for a R307 million Economic Transformation of Black Citrus Growers Programme. 

The programme is expected to create 1 726 permanent and seasonal jobs in the industry.

Last year, the CGA applied to the Jobs Fund for a project that would make funding and technical support available to black citrus growers for orchard establishment, expansion and rehabilitation, as well as on-farm development of infrastructure including packhouses, bulk-water supply and irrigation systems.

The Jobs Fund committed R118m to the project, with the Land Bank contributing an additional R116m in loan funding. 

The CGA contributed R24, while the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and AGRISETA pledged R34m and R12m respectively. 

The CGA was the lead partner with the Jobs Fund on the programme and had appointed Lima Rural Development as the programme manager. 

The Citrus Academy will provide skills development support, while the CGA Grower Development Company (CGA-GDC) will be the implementation agent for the programme.

The programme would be implemented over three years across South Africa, with a specific focus on the Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, North West and KwaZulu-Natal.

To qualify for funding growers have to have a minimum of 60 percent black ownership. Other criteria included producing or packing exported citrus, having appropriate management structures, relationships with external service providers, human resource development plans, security of land tenure and sufficient water supply.

“We believe the Economic Transformation of Black Citrus Growers Programme will help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and make a major contribution to grow the volume, value and level of participation of black citrus growers in the industry.” said CGA CEO Justin Chadwick in a statement.

“Despite work done over the past few years transformation in the industry remains constrained, the usual barriers persist. A revolving loan component will ensure the programme’s continued ability to reach more growers post the Jobs Fund’s involvement,” said Jobs Fund head Najwah Allie-Edries. 

BUSINESS REPORT 

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