To begin a farming enterprise, one must start somewhere. And the best way to start is by creating partnerships.
Initially, these partnerships will be few and far between, but as they slowly increase in number and impact, the dots will start to connect to create what will hopefully be a sustainable enterprise for the farmer, employees and nation, says Aron Kole, managing director of FarmSol. After all, food production and food security are basic human rights, he adds.
“I’ve spent exactly three years as the managing director of FarmSol and in this past year we have faced several challenges, from drought and flooding to the COVID-19 pandemic but we also had an opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives,” says Kole.
“At FarmSol, we are particularly proud of the contribution each of our partners, farmers and the FarmSol team have made to the South African agricultural landscape.
“It’s been nothing less than hard work, dedication, commitment and effort. Our farmers also showed incredible resilience to keep their heads up against all odds, and to keep on doing what all farmers do, which is to get up, put up with challenges, grow crops and keep doing their best to produce food for the nation.”
FarmSol is one of South Africa’s leading private sector-led grain farmer development companies, and focuses on providing sustainable empowerment solutions that link customers in the food and beverage sector to emerging growers as their raw material suppliers, says Kole.
In the 2021 summer crop season alone, FarmSol paid over R18 million in profits to smallholder farmers participating in the scheme, making a meaningful contribution to poverty alleviation, raising incomes and improving food security for South Africa’s rural communities and farmers.
“This has been made possible by our partnership with South African Breweries, which has continued to partner with us to support hundreds of smallholder farmers across South Africa with production loan funding, mentorship and access to markets. We also remain positive that our 2021 winter crop farmers will also experience a successful winter crop,” says Kole.
In 2021, three new partners joined hands with FarmSol to support other crops. “These partnerships and collaborations will enable us to increase our impact and support many more capable emerging farmers across South Africa.”
Kole adds that Farmsol is proud to have been appointed as the implementing agent of the Siqalo Foods Grower Empowerment Programme.
“Through this programme, participating emerging growers will have an opportunity to produce high oil content sunflowers for the manufacturing of famous household brands such a Rama, Stork and Rondo.”
Kole says that the past five years have taught the FarmSol team that the challenge in transforming the sector is not with farmers or the market, but the way in which these aspects are connected to each other.
“FarmSol is playing this crucial role [to connect farmers and markets], and we will continue doing so to build a strong South Africa.”