Black farmers say still too much red tape to get start-up funds

Emerging black farmers say funding their farms remains a huge challenge, despite government’s efforts to transform the sector.

Emerging Western Cape farmers at a meeting with Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana under the auspices of AFASA (African Farmers’ Association of South Africa) in Stellenbosch on 13 March 2019. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Emerging black farmers say funding their farms remains a huge challenge, despite government’s efforts to transform the sector.

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana met with farmers in Stellenbosch.

Some feel that there is still too much red-tape preventing them from getting the start-up funds they need.

After many setbacks and being rejected, Carmen Stevens began studying at Elsenberg College in January 1993. Two years later, she qualified as South Africa's first black winemaker.

In 2014, she established her own brand but says a lot more still needs to fall in place for her to reach her full potential.

“It’s very difficult to get the right infrastructure, especially for small batches. That’s why I invested in my own company as I cannot forever be paying someone else’s bills for them.”

Stevens explained the difficulty of making a breakthrough in the South African wine market.

“There is a stigma if it’s a black brand owner. I got an opportunity, firstly in the UK and the branched out to the USA.”

She highlighted the importance of upcoming farmers being educated, to ensure they produce top-notch quality products.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)