South Africa has a ripe and growing agricultural sector. The country is known for maize, wheat, and grapefruit harvests, and, of course, grapes that feed wine production. Though it’s a sector that directly influences the country’s gross domestic product, starting a farm and acquiring agricultural finance is not for the feint of heart.
Having to purchase all sorts of industrial equipment, land, hiring staff, and setting up a farm can be a serious undertaking. Add to that the range of real-world problems, such as where the business will be situated, soil composition, and droughts, which can pile on more costs than initially expected.
In order to make things a little easier, below is a list of some of the companies in SA you can approach for agricultural finance.
A sister company to FNB, WesBank offers a range of finance options for businesses in different sectors. Among those is agriculture, and the bank looks to help business owners to finance equipment, tractors, harvesters, and anything else that is needed. It also offers asset finance management for land and road vehicles.
A specialised and dedicated agricultural organisation, Land Bank designs its products around the sector and the needs of business owners. A primary focus of Land Bank is the access to finance for new entrants from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. The company also looks for ways to support and contribute to the development of farmers without profit as a primary motive for agriculture.
Another South African commercial bank that offers finance to the agricultural sector amongst its offerings. Standard Bank’s products include risk management tools, crop and livestock insurance, agriculture advisors, and assess to its BizConnect portal and Finance and Farm Management manual.
Backed by AFGRI Limited, a company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange [JSE:AFR], Capital Harvest looks to not only offer production finance, but financial products available at commercial banks as well. All of its systems have been created to support the agricultural market, unlike many commercial competitors that compete in a variety of sectors. Some of Capital Harvest’s offerings include capital harvest production finance, revolving credit facilities, term loans, as well as facilities for winter and summer.
Like most other commercial banks in SA, Nedbank offers a range of services for those in the agriculture sector among its products. The bank focuses on agronomy, horticulture, livestock, as well as secondary agriculture sectors. Nedbank also has special agricultural teams in different areas to assess the needs of clients. Their lending solutions include debtor and trade finance, specialised finance, and solutions for BEE transactions.
Just like its primary commercial bank competitors, ABSA offers more of the same services as WesBank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank. Some of their products include accounts for businesses, finance for working capital, and foreign currency transactions. ABSA will also help those wanting to expand their business into the rest of Africa, as well as accommodating investment services.
There is also the Micro Agricultural Financial Institutions of South Africa (MAFISA). This government organisation services smallholder producers not just in agriculture, but forestry and fisheries as well. It allows small-scale farmers to purchase equipment, production materials, and also livestock. It also encourages savings for farmers to accumulate wealth as collateral.
Other finance options
When it comes to agriculture, it’s not just about growing crops. With the startup boom in recent years, the agri sector has expanded to include technology as well. For these companies, looking at traditional banks and agriculture-focused companies may not be the way to go.
These companies can be treated like any other startup when it comes to financing. In this case, the company may want to look at Angel investors, venture capital firms, or even incubators and accelerators. An example of investment in an agritech startup is GreenFingers Mobile, which received €70 000 seed investment from The Hivos Food & Lifestyle Fund. GreenFingers Mobile has been in operation since 2015 and provides finance and management to over 5000 farmers across three African countries.
Financing for your agricultural farm
Whether you’re launching a support network for farmers across several countries, like WeFarm, or wanting to grow pineapples, there is a range of financing options for your agricultural business. While many companies may look the same up front, it is best to always enquire with them to find out how they can especially help you and cater to your business needs.