Big Dreams for Small Farmers

Grethe Bestbier

Emerging growers as a group is vital for the agricultural industry’s transformation and sustainability goals. That is why InnoFruitSA is all about the development of small farmers.

This BEE company can rightly be described as a small business that enables other small businesses to thrive in ways that are profitable, constructive and sustainable.

“I think InnoFruitSA gives farmers the opportunity to reach their full potential in their farming practices,” says Desiree Adams, executive director of InnoFruitSA.

With a passion for the growth of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMME), InnoFruitSA focuses on areas such as skills and knowledge transfer, literacy improvement, poverty alleviation, technical, financial and administrative support, and new business development for youth and women

The private company strives to help the new emerging farmer rise to a point of excellence. To get there, they believe, it’s about more than just farming. InnofruitSA focuses on a holistic approach: farmers need to be skilled and knowledgeable, as well as financially, spiritually, emotionally and physically equipped to turn their enterprise into a success. Part of this approach is involving the farmer’s support system – husband, wife, children, and extended family – in the development of the farmer and the farm.

A big part of supporting the farmers and their enterprises is building networks with partners in the industry. InnoFruitSA’s majority shareholders have contacts in the public and private sector, which they make use of to form beneficial partnerships. Their strategy has proven to be very successful thus far.

“There are farmers that we helped in 2018 and this year, who’s production income more than doubled from 7,651 tons last year to 22 ton in 2019,” says Adams.

Through these valuable partnerships, as well as submitting applications for funding to various sources, InnoFruit supports agricultural projects goal of expanding farming and business enterprises. They focus on creating entry points in the value chain for small farmers by investing in equipment, processing plants, and infrastructure.

“InnoFruitSA is a registered credit provider and offers farmers production and harvesting loans throughout the year,” says Adams. “Without this help, there are many farmers who cannot collect their crops and suffer serious losses.”

This small company is already making a big impact, and according to Adams, it is only the start.

“InnoFruitSA is still in its growth phase,” says Adams. “There is still much more in the pipeline that we can offer our clients in the future, not only in the Northern Cape but also in the Western Cape where we are currently doing business. We also want to expand to the Eastern Cape.”

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