Jobs Fund: Government & Fruit Industry working together to create jobs

Over the last 17 months the Jobs Fund in collaboration with the stone and pome fruit industry have created 483 jobs in the deciduous fruit sector.
The Jobs Fund is a National Treasury initiative looking to co-finance public, private and non-governmental organisations in order to create sustainable job creation initiatives, as well as long term employment creation in South Africa.
This initiative’s connection with the deciduous fruit industry is tied to the Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber (DFDC) commercialisation programme. This programme’s aim is to graduate small holder farmers to commercial status with the focus on self-sustainability post Jobs Fund support and creating jobs.
This will be done by improving productivity on existing orchards, improving market access and compliance to market requirements and standards, increasing the number of new plantings, replacing old orchards and/or obsolete cultivars, assisting with production inputs of the new/replaced orchards, and providing access to technical assistance and mentorship.
A total budget of R120 million, to be dispersed of over four years, has been allocated to this initiative. The Jobs Fund contributes R60 million, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture gives R40 million and R20 million is provided by industry funding through the Deciduous Fruit Producers’ Trust (DFPT).
This money will be spent on five key areas which includes the development of whole farm plans, production inputs, technical assistance, new planting and replacement of orchards and mechanisation.
The criteria that was applied to select the smallholder farmers as beneficiaries of this programme was:

  • Access to land (title deeds, lease agreement, permission to occupy)
  • Access to water and water usage rights
  • 100% Black owned
  • Must consent to further skills development, training and mentorship
  • Existing fruit farmer with the potential to become commercial

According to Mariette Kotzé, HORTGRO Group Operations Manager, highlighted that the deliverables achieved exceeded targets and expectations.
“Of the targeted 19 hectares (ha) to be planted, 22,4 ha were planted. In terms of job creation, 73 permanent jobs and 276 short-term jobs were created. The target was 18 short term jobs. A number 130 beneficiaries were trained. This training includes study groups, the HORTGRO Technical Symposium, the Interpera Congress and SIZA compliance training. The total projected expenditure to date is R11,6 million of a budgeted R13,8 million.”
Kotzé mentioned that the way forward for this initiative includes formalising study groups and the coordination of technical assistance in the three main areas of implementation; Ceres, the EGVV and the Langkloof.
She also laid out the target for new orchards and the replacement of orchards to be planted in 2017, which is 83 hectares. According to current planning, 67,2 ha of pome fruit will be established of which 54 ha will be new plantings and 13.2 ha will be replaced. An amount of 17 ha of new stone fruit plantings will be made.
It is also projected that 144 permanent jobs (non-seasonal) will be created by end of December 2017.

Check out a kykNET insert about the Jobs Fund initiative on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajD81FDOwMA