The Department of Trade & Industry (dti) has chosen Africa’s premier food and beverage event to announce its one billion boost for South African agriculture.

Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies will announce full details of the new one billion rand Agro-processing Support Scheme (APSS) at Africa’s Big 7 expo in Johannesburg on Tuesday (June 27).

The scheme offers individual grants of up to Rand 20 million to support small farmers, create jobs, increase rural development and help boost exports.

“I am confident that the agro-processing incentive will make a positive difference by creating jobs and supporting smallholder farmers, amongst others,” says Davies said, who described the target producers as an important labour-intensive sector, prioritised in the Industrial Policy Action Plan.

The new announcement is expected to address initial criticisms when it was first discussed two weeks ago where grant recipients having to start funded projects within 90 days was considered too short and also that the 30 per cent minimum black inputs to any project may restrict growth. Davies is expected to deal with these and clarify exactly how APSS will be implemented.

Africa’s Big 7 fully supports the country’s smaller farmers and has devoted a conference day to support smallholders and urban farmers with a series of interactive free-to-attend workshops. Sessions are intended to improve the productivity, efficiency and profitability of existing farms and prepare them for expansion. The day has sessions on improving yields, using better seeds and fertilisers and advice on accessing finance and marketing.

Dr Davies’ APSS announcement targets food and beverage value addition and processing (including black-owned winemakers), feed production, fertiliser production, fibre production and furniture. The announcement forms part of the dti’s transition away from generalised incentives towards sector-specific programmes, the minister says.

And every session that form part of this year’s AB7 conference programme earns career enhancing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accreditation for delegates. CPD operates all over the world and international show organiser dmg events, which acquired AB7 last year, introduces CPD to South Africa in 2017. CPD benefits the employee, the employer and ensures dmg conferences are of recognised international standard.

Special features at AB7 2017 also includes Café Culture featuring competitions and free barista training with a healthy blend of mixology and chefs kitchen of the future challenge, which will bring together sub-Saharan Africa’s finest worthy of Africa’s premier food show.

AB7, now in its 16th year, was acquired last year by dmg events Middle East, Asia & Africa and rebranded and relaunched for 2017.

It is co-located with SAITEX 2017 – Africa’s largest product sourcing event – and The Hotel Show Africa 2017, one of the world’s most successful hospitality event brands. Together they make up Retail & Hospitality Week 2017 at The Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, from June 25 to 27.

You can see the full Food Forum conference programme at www.africabig7.com and also register for show and conference passes.

INDUSTRY NEWS

EXHIBITOR NEWS: Homemade fudge at Africa’s Big 7
EXHIBITOR NEWS: Your chance to try to some of South Africa's finest ice cream
EXHIBITOR NEWS: Brazilian chicken farm visits Johannesburg as part of Africa's Big 7
EXHIBITOR NEWS: Largest meat processing company in the world is coming to Johannesburg