The Relaunch of the Agro-Processing Scheme to Increase Uptake
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) has relaunched the Agro-Processing Support Scheme (APSS) in order to increase the uptake of the incentive programme, which is aimed at stimulating investment by South African agro-processing enterprises.
According to the Chief Director of Strategic Partnership and Customer Care at the dtic, Ms Tsepiso Makgothi, the amendment of the APSS was the result of an engagement with various stakeholders and businesses where it became apparent that some companies did not have the minimum R1 million investment that was required, while others were of the view that the APSS guidelines were too onerous.
“Agro-processing remains a key priority economic sector as per the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). A key characteristic of agro-processing is its strong upstream and downstream linkages. Although other incentive programmes for the manufacturing sector have been effective in achieving their intended objectives, a dedicated incentive scheme has greater potential in creating an enabling environment for small and medium businesses in the agro-processing industry to participate meaningfully in the mainstream economy,” says Makgothi.
She adds that the APSS aims to stimulate investment by South African agro-processing enterprises. The investment should achieve increased capacity, employment creation, modernised machinery and equipment, competitiveness and productivity improvement and broadening participation.
“The incentive will support both brown and green field investments with a focus on promoting economic inclusion to support equitable economic growth of production activities within the agro-processing value chain. Through the scheme, we are committing to increasing localisation, encouraging investment in upstream and downstream support services, as well as the expansion of infrastructure to be used by farmers and agro-processors,” says Makgothi.
The programme is a cost sharing grant capped at R20 million rand over a two-year investment period, for new machinery and equipment, commercial vehicles, buildings and competitiveness improvement costs.
The APSS targets six key identified sub-sectors or focus areas, namely food and beverage value addition and processing; furniture manufacturing; fibre processing; feed production, fertiliser production and essential oil production
More information can be accessed on the dtic website by clicking on the following link: http://www.thedtic.gov.za/financial-and-non-financial-support/incentives/agro-processing-support-scheme/
Rural and Township Economies are a Priortity in National Economic Recovery Efforts
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina says the rural and township economies are a key component of government’s economic recovery programme and no effort will be spared in ensuring their success.
She was addressing small black business operators at the Amandla Omnotho Conference at the Charisma Outreach Centre in Durban. The conference is an annual event aimed at empowering small business operators with information and skills so that they can thrive and grow.
The theme for this year’s conference is; ‘Promoting Entrepreneurship Through Partnership, Collaboration and Cooperation with Government, the Private Sector and Emerging Entrepreneurs.’
Deputy Minister Gina says unless concerted efforts are made to incubate small farmer businesseses, agro-processors and township enterprises of all shapes, the glass ceiling of the economic legacies of apartheid will never be broken.
“The recent economic occurrences have shown there is an urgent need to build township and rural economy. The Gauteng government has led the way in terms of township economy policy development, the KwaZulu Natal has followed suit. As the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, we have put up a technical team that is working on the policy levers of a national policy on township and rural economy.”
She said research that has been conducted by a government team in many townships across the country confirmed that townships and rural villages are not part of bigger investment conversations but are treated as charity cases by big corporate investors, only enough for Corporate Social Investments (CSI).
She added that some of the key interventions are to provide critical infrastructure support for manufacturing and value add opportunities and investments in state owned industrial parks that are township based.
“We are working on a mapping exercise to assist us in profiling the township economy and critical challenges affecting economic development. This will assist us in identifying current support mechanisms for the township and rural economy so that among other things, we can come up with correct policy instruments for funding incentive packages, sector and governance support structures,” she said.
SA and Vietnam Should Work Together to Increase Trade and Investment
*** Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina together with the Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr Tran Quoc Khanh ***
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina has called on the South African and Vietnamese governments to fulfill their Joint Trade Committee (JTC) commitments, especially those that were stalled following Covid-19 lockdown. She asserted that this post-pandemic period would serve as an opportune moment to cover ground lost since 2020. Gina said this during the conclusion of the two-day JTC meeting which took place in Johannesburg yesterday.
The Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting, which is held annually is intended to enhance bilateral economic relations between South Africa and Vietnam. This year’s session was sitting for the first time in three years and was co-chaired by Deputy Minister Gina and her counterpart from the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), Vice Minister Tran Quoc Khanh.
According to Gina, the JTC is another opportunity to discuss how best South Africa and Vietnam could work together to enhance bilateral economic relations.
“South Africa attaches great importance to its relations with Vietnam, which date back to almost 30 years ago. Within the Asian region, Vietnam is South Africa’s 9thtrading partner, whereas South Africa is currently Vietnam’s largest trading partner in Africa. Our bilateral trade has shown steady growth over the years with the highest growth achieved between 2019 and 2020. This, to us, demonstrates the resilience of our trade relationship. Our ambition is to grow and diversify our export basket to Vietnam. There is also scope to improve our investment relations,” she said.
Gina added that Vietnam’s visit to South Africa comes when the continent is excited about a very important milestone.
“Thus, the conclusion and implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) presents investment opportunities in an open and larger continental market. We encourage Vietnam not to look at the African continent only as a market for exports but see it as an exceedingly important investment destination,” said Gina.
She added that given the scope of the agenda items developed for the two-day session, an action plan covering a broad range of issues that would pave the way to more enhanced trade and investment relations would be produced.
“Having said that, I look forward to having fruitful discussions on how we can maximise the benefits of our bilateral trade and investment relations to ensure mutually beneficial results for the people of our respective countries,” said Gina.
There is a Need for Improved Collaboration to Improve Competitiveness and Sustainability of Enterprises
*** The Chief Executive Officer of Productivity SA, Mr Mothunye Mothiba speaking during the second leg of the Workplace Challenge milestone workshop where client companies share how they managed to successfully deal with challenges stemming from the new world of work ***
The Chief Executive Officer of Productivity SA, Mr Mothunye Mothiba says improved collaboration of strategic partners can increase improvement in competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises. Mothiba was speaking during the second leg of the Workplace Challenge milestone workshop where client companies shared how they managed to successfully deal with challenges stemming from the new world of work. The workshop took place in Kimberley, Northern Cape.
The workshop was hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in partnership with Productivity SA, the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDaT) and the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) under the theme “Adapting and Growing Stronger, Together”.
The aim of the workshop was to recognise companies that have demonstrated resilience in the difficult economic environment to sustain their businesses through the implementation of Productivity SA‘s Workplace Challenge Programme.
Mothiba called on the Northern Cape Economic cluster departments to work with Productivity SA and the dticto improve the competitiveness and sustainability of their economies and enterprises, particularly Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), both formal and informal operating in the priority productive sectors.
“As we gather here today in a bid to improve the competitiveness and productivity of Northern Cape enterprises, it is worth acknowledging that the South African community does not work in silos and our success is affected by various variables. One of the key variable that is ideal for a favourable competitiveness and productivity improvement is South Africa‘s economic growth. Importantly, the growth of our enterprises leads to better economic performance and better economic performance leads to the growth of our enterprise. The two go hand in glove and one cannot function optimally without the other,” said Mothiba.
According to Mothiba, the collaboration with strategic partners is key in realising the needs of the target market in a comprehensive and systematic way. One such strategic partner has been the Small Business Development Agency (Seda) which has worked jointly with Productivity SA in providing the necessary capacity building interventions to 27 entrepreneurs in the Northern Cape during Financial Year 2021/22.
Mothiba noted that the numbers were still low and there was a need for more entrepreneurs to be trained, this he said would lead to desired competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises which will lead to job creation and increased profits.
Dr Johan van der Spuy from the School of Economic and Management Sciences at the Sol Plaatjie University, noted that SMMEs were seen as vehicles to address the problem of high unemployment levels in SA due to their high labour-absorptive capacity. He further explained that SMMEs stimulate domestic competition by creating market niches in which they grow until they identify a new niche as a response to demand changes, and for them to be internationally competitive because of their flexibility.
“In SA one of the most significant obstacles to entrepreneurial activity is lack of education. Education is positively related to entrepreneurial activity and lack of management skills by SMME owners and managers can be ascribed to lack of education and training. Education and training help build management competencies which are essential for the success of the enterprise,” said Dr Spuy.
In pointing out key policy interventions for SMMEs, Mr Daryll Christians from the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDaT) said skills development remained critical for SMMEs to flourish. He said the province has partnered with the private sector and existing institutions of higher learning to develop a green training academy in NC to ensure development of necessary skills to support this nascent sub-sector.
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition