By: Tebogo Mokwena
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) this week relaunched the Agro-Processing Support Scheme (APSS) to further drive localisation and the creation of agro-processing enterprises. The scheme is set to invest R20 million over two years. It will include the provision of new machinery, equipment, commercial vehicles and buildings, which will be used by new and emerging agro-processing businesses.
Food and beverage, manufacturing, fibre processing, feed production, fertiliser production and essential oil production sectors will be prioritised. DTIC’s Strategic Partnership and Customer Care Chief Director Tsepiso Makgothi said that the scheme was amended because stakeholders believed that its initial guidelines were too onerous. This included a requirement that companies that would receive assistance from the scheme, needed to have a minimum R1 million investment.
Makgothi also said that the scheme would support both brownfield and greenfield investments, focusing on promoting economic inclusion to support growth within the agro-processing value chain. “Agro-processing remains a key priority economic sector as per the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP),” she said. “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,” Makgothi said the DTIC was committed to increasing localisation, encouraging investment in upstream and downstream support services, as well expanding infrastructure which would be used by small-scale and emerging farmers and agro-processors.
The scheme is one of a few DTIC initiatives which support creating a conducive business environment for SMMEs. The Sugar Masterplan is expected to be completed by January next year. And the department will also assist 200 black, women and youth businesses with export training and support.