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California Ag Day ~ Expanding California African Trade and Commerce
by michael harris
Friday Mar 2nd, 2012 1:37 PM
Expanding California African Trade and Commerce, a decade long conversation at the local, state, national and international level, is poised to celebrate major progress in the "Greatest Garden in the World." Together we will continue to build cultural identification, technical education toward mutually beneficial economic development. South African Agriculture Minister, Tina Jomat-Patterson is providing a format for the African Union to consider, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is providing leadership in China, "Africa Got Next," California Ag Leadership is poised to lead the way.
South African Government sets aside financial capital for black agribusiness entrepreneurs, AgriBEE Equity Fund to invest in black agribusiness entrepreneurs and create wealth in Black communites.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has put aside R150m for the AgriBEE Equity Fund, which is geared towards increasing the number of black entrepreneurs in the agribusiness sector, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, told the newly established Black Business Council on Thursday night.

She said the objective of the fund was to acquire ownership equity for black beneficiaries in white commercial agricultural businesses and to ensure the significant participation of black people in the mainstream economy.

Ms Joemat-Pettersson said the fund would support enterprise development initiatives aimed at creating economic access and participation for black people in the agricultural sector.

The department has also entered into an agreement with the Land Bank, as an external agency, to manage and administer the AgriBEE fund. The Land Bank is seen as the department’s strategic partner for agribusiness and farmer development.

Regarding the forestry sector, Ms Joemat-Pettersson said the department had gazetted the Forest Sector Charter in 2009 in terms of section 9(1) in terms of the BBBEE Act 53 of 2003. It then appointed members of the Forest Sector Charter Council to represent key government sectors and business communities.

"The section 9 status of the Forest Sector Codes makes transformation binding on all the stakeholders within the forest sector," she said.

Ms Joemat-Pettersson said her department was working with the Forest Sector Charter Council to develop a funding scheme for black forest growers. A concept document for the scheme has already been developed.

Possible partners to the scheme are development financial institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation and the National Empowerment Fund.

Regarding fisheries, the minister said much still had to be done in terms of transformation, and there was no transformation charter or framework available to guide the sector. Transformation is currently being implemented through the implementation of quotas and fisheries policies.

However, her department is developing the Transformation Framework for the Fisheries Sector in partnership with the sector’s business community.

Ms Joemat-Pettersson urged black agribusiness entrepreneurs to take advantage of these opportunities and to find like-minded white partners, who also need black partners to build their businesses using the frameworks within these sector charters.

"Let us once and for all bury the thought that the future of this country is either black without white or white insulated from black," she said. "White business cannot survive for too long if it shuts black business out, but black business must also realise that for quicker success, it needs to tap into the expertise and experience of white business."

The minister said the privilege that white business enjoyed was "engineered and institutionalised for many years in exclusion of blacks", and tapping into it was the only way of reversing the ills of the past and creating a South Africa that will "bear more fruit for more – in partnership, not in exclusion".

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California Ag Day ~ Expanding California African Trade and CommerceHopewell RadebeFriday Mar 2nd, 2012 1:42 PM