In a move to support sustainable farming and SMMEs growth, the fund has allocated funding to propel businesses into the ranks of commercial farmers in South Africa.

Local potato farmer Phophi Raletjena received funding of R7-million for his farming operation. This financial support will enable him to cultivate 50 hectares of land, dedicating 30% to potato production to PepsiCo South Africa.

Raletjena has an existing contract to supply potatoes to PepsiCo South Africa for its Simba chips business and, together with the funding, has secured an additional offtake agreement for the supply of potatoes.

In addition, female farmer Zelda Masoga secured R1-million in funding for her Mazeli Farming and Projects, allowing her to grow potatoes on an extensive scale across 10 hectares. Masoga is currently applying to PepsiCo SA to supply potatoes for its potato chip business.

In this way, it is not only through funding emerging farmers that PepsiCo South Africa and the Kgodiso Development Fund are transforming farming systems, but it is also transforming supply chains by providing an important route to market for these farmers, says the fund.

Both enterprises are nestled in the Potato Belt within the Capricorn District of Limpopo, renowned for its quality potatoes.

The Kgodiso Development Fund's mission extends beyond providing capital. According to Diale Tilo, executive director of the fund, it aims to address the constraints limiting emerging farmers and SMMEs from realising their full potential. This comprehensive approach includes access to:
  • affordable capital
  • technical assistance
  • upskilling, and
  • strategies for local ownership, which will ultimately guide emerging farmers towards becoming successful commercial farmers.

Raletjena says, "Potatoes are a crop of the future, presenting opportunities to address food security. With the support from Simba, I'm on a mission to feed the world with potatoes."

Raletjena has been mentoring Masoga with technical skills and the use of some of his farming equipment.

According to Raletjana, the full participation of women in the agricultural sector is imperative, and the funding and contract for Masoga's farm will allow her to be a shining example to other female farmers.

"In our humble beginnings, we initiated our farming venture with a small backyard plot. As demand steadily increased, it became evident that this space could no longer suffice. Subsequently, we expanded to a larger farm — a transition not without its hurdles, particularly as a woman farmer," says Masoga.

"Throughout this journey, we've learned the value of patience, as farming yields no instant gratification. With this financial injection, we are poised not only to expand our business but also to play a pivotal role in job creation while ensuring that more families have food on their tables," Masoga adds.

Tilo says that agriculture is a vital engine of growth for the South African economy. This sector has the potential to uplift many struggling South Africans by increasing food production, stimulating economic activity and creating job opportunities.

The fund concludes that its mission is to create shared value solutions that enhance the long-term sustainability and resilience of the country's food system.

The Kgodiso Development Fund, although independent of PepsiCo South Africa, is part of PepsiCo South Africa's public interest commitments with the overarching goal of driving economic growth. It was established at the time of the Pioneer Foods acquisition and aligns with PepsiCo's global initiative, PepsiCo Positive, which focuses on strategic and sustainable end-to-end transformation.

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