South African Agriculture Needs Entrepreneurs, Business Developer Says

South African Agriculture Needs Entrepreneurs, Business Developer Says

Farming in South Africa is marked by massive income disparity with 91 percent of farmers farming for subsistence and 2 percent farming to generate income, indicating a dearth of entrepreneurs, according to a report in BusinessDayLive.

South Africa ranks 23rd out of 43 countries for prevalence of start-up businesses with a start-up rate of 7.8 percent, according to research from TechnoServe, a nonprofit business development organization that works in 30 countries.

Empowering entrepreneurs to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty is his company’s work, says Bruce McNamer, CEO of TechnoServe.

South Africa has 3-million-plus small businesses representing 95 percent of all enterprises and contributing about 45 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, the report says.

Most South African farmers have limited knowledge and facilities while a tiny percentage have an agricultural background and adequate facilities, according to BusinessDayLive.

Overall, farmers in South Africa contribute 2.6 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, according to another report in bdlive.

TechnoServe provides support and training for entrepreneurs to develop business plans, link with markets and seed capital, improve management skills, produce higher-quality products and services and operate more efficiently — all essential for businesses to thrive and expand, says Mandla Nkomo, TechnoServe’s acting director for South Africa, in the BusinessDayLive report.

Among its successes, TechnoServe helped three emerging farmers in Limpopo in 2011. The project started with a $125,000 loan from the Woolworths Foundation and now produces 600 tons of tomatoes a year.

Partnering with Massmart, South Africa’s largest retailer of general merchandise, TechnoServe put locally produced small-scale farmers’ produce on the shelves of Massmart, the report says.

TechnoServe was granted more than $4 million earlier this year by the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s Jobs Fund, according to BusinessDayLive.