‘We cannot turn our backs on grain industry,’ says Land Bank chair

Valerie Cilliers, editor, SA Graan/Grain
Published: 12 April 2024

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Thabi Nkosi, chairperson of the Land Bank, attended Grain SA’s Congress this year to show solidarity with grain producers in South Africa. Informally addressing Congress, she said Grain SA plays an important role in the South African grain industry, which forms the greatest segment of the Land Bank’s clientele. ‘Our relationship with Grain SA is one we continue to nurture,’ she added.

Nkosi apologised for the struggles producers have experienced in working with Land Bank in the past. She assured Congress that over the past two years they have been working hard to stabilise balance sheets, rebuild products, and to bring back the development mandate as required by the founding directive of the institution.

She said she was excited about Land Bank’s engagement with Grain SA over the past year and assured Dr Tobias Doyer, CEO of Grain SA, that he has a direct line to her to discuss the needs of the grain industry. She added that the Land Bank is currently in discussion with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) regarding drought relief.

‘When there is a disaster such as this, government must come to the fore, that is our job. Last year we launched the Agro Energy Fund, a blended finance programme, established in partnership with the DALRRD to provide funding support for the acquisition of alternative energy assets to alleviate the impact of load shedding on farming operations and the agricultural sector. The Covid-19 relief fund is another example. We need to do the same for the drought and even though implementation has been slow in the past, we are not going to wait for the situation to get worse. We have already started to engage with role players because we have seen the impact of drought first-hand. We cannot turn our backs on the grain industry.’

Nkosi concluded by saying that Grain SA is an important partner. ‘You will continue to see our faces and we will continue to engage. Hold us to account,’ she added.