Farmers invited to apply for Nerpo infrastructure improvement loans

The National Emergent Red Meat Producers Organization (Nerpo) has invited smallholder farmers to start applying for the new Nerpo Farm Machinery & Infrastructural Improvement Fund, which Land Bank and the organisation believe will be a catalyst for growth and development for smallholder farmers.

The fund is meant for infrastructure improvements, such as farm machinery, fixed improvements, irrigation facilities, and boreholes and water reservoirs, irrespective of which commodity the farmer is producing. Loans range between R10 000 and R1 million at a 4% fixed interest rate. The turn-around time for loan approvals will be about 28 days if all the relevant documentation is received on time.

This initiative will create an enabling environment for commercialisation of smallholder farmers by, among other things, improving the accessibility of credit facilities, said Aggrey Mahanjana, Nerpo group managing director. Mohammed Kabir Sizwe, Land Bank’s head of emerging retail markets, said this fund will be exclusively for black farmers."We say if you have access to land and you can prove it, we will finance you.”

Grain CEO Jannie de Villiers applauded the initiative, saying such partnerships are essential for the development of emerging farmers. The Grain SA Farmer Development Programme is a good example of such a partnership, he added, noting that, thanks to its farmer development programme, the organization now has more black farmers than white.