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Massmart launch Direct Farming Programme for small holding farmers in Limpopo Province

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In a significant boost for small-scale farmers, Massmart-Walmart has signed a three-year supplier development program with TechnoServe SA, which will ultimately link small farmers directly to Massmart stores. This is consistent with Massmart’s objective to ensure that small farmers benefit from the Group’s fresh produce retail proposition. TechnoServe, a global NGO, has partnered with Wal-Mart in South America andIndia to operationalise its Direct Farm programme, while the local TechnoServe team has been developing a smallholder farmer blueprint for Africa with a detailed strategy for South Africa. TechnoServe SA Country Director, Earl Sampson, says: “We will develop a pilot small-scale farmer program which will allow Massmart the opportunity
to test and move to scale, aiming to deliver a Direct Farm program which will engage viable small farmers within the next 5 years.” The programme, representing an investment of more than R15
million, includes training, mentoring, technical assistance and establishing essential links to both finance and retail markets.

The pilot project is based around the Trichardtsdal area in Limpopo and will start with between 30 and 50 small-scale farmers. One of the key elements of the Massmart-Walmart transaction was the creation of R100m Supplier Development Fund to improve the competitiveness of South African manufacturers and producers. Commenting the Massmart Executive responsible for this programme, Mncane Mthunzi said “The Massmart-Walmart Direct Farm programme will seek to identify, develop and support the smallholding farmers, to supply Massmart with fresh produce through
take-off agreements that will ensure commercial and sustainable business for the farmers” Sampson says these targeted small-scale farmers could potentially form a core of the next generation of commercial farmers. “We are excited about this programme, and our investment in this initiative will assist in job creation whilst also contributing to the economic empowerment of articipating farmers”, Mthunzi concluded.

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