Small businesses in the agro-processing sector have until 31 January 2018 to apply for financial support from the dti’s Agro-Processing Support Scheme (APSS), for the current application window.
The R1-billion grant, which was launched in June 2017 by Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, aims to stimulate investment in South African agro-processing and beneficiation enterprises. From a national development perspective, the agro-processing sector is among the sectors identified by the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) and the National Development Plan (NDP) for its potential to spur growth and create jobs, due to its strong backward linkages with the primary agricultural sector.
The five sectors that can benefit from the scheme are food and beverage value addition and processing; furniture manufacturing; fibre processing; feed production; and fertilizer production.
In particular, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (the dti) is urging black winemakers to apply to the APSS.
Giving black winemakers an opportunity to get financial support through this incentive is part of the objective of the dti to change the structure of the economy, said Chief Director: Strategic Partnerships and Customer Care at the dti, Tsepiso Makgothi. “The wine industry remains largely concentrated and entry and active participation [of black winemakers] is limited. They’re now given an opportunity to get into the mainstream of the economy because the incentives are available as part of the transformation.”
On why black winemakers did not have access to incentives previously, Makgothi said: “In the past [they] were left out due to barriers to entry, as well as because they were still too small to meet some of the stipulated requirements of the then manufacturing incentives.”
However, the APSS funds are not reserved for a single group or sector. “We don’t keep money for one certain group. What if we have money available only for black winemakers, but they don’t apply?”
The dti will be identifying specific focus areas annually to drive transformation, Makgothi added.