A transformative and replicable, broad-based initiative within the agricultural sector has recently come on-stream. This was achieved via the conclusion of a transaction between citrus and grape farmer, Schoonbee Landgoed and pioneering black-owned company Thebe Investment Corporation.
Known as Project CHANGE, this initiative has the potential to provide an innovative, long-term model for partnering between established white commercial farmers and black institutional investors, while empowering local communities and supporting new entrant (including small holder) farmers in achieving financial viability.
A profit-for-purpose agricultural model
Project CHANGE is an initiative focused on the commercial production, packaging, marketing and sales of table grapes and citrus. Grounded in the spirit and principles of the National Development Plan, the goal is to become a market-leading, black-owned “profit-for-purpose” farming initiative that is able to service local and international markets with premium products, while at the same time empowering the communities involved in the project through job creation and the provision of education, training, and healthcare services.
The project consists of two recently developed farms with existing income contributed by Schoonbee Landgoed, and Thebe Investment Corporation’s equity contribution towards the acquisition of just under 400 hectares of additional land with recognised water rights for further citrus and grape development. Packhouses will also be constructed as well as three primary healthcare and educational facilities for the surrounding communities.
It is anticipated that over 1,200 new jobs will be directly created through Project CHANGE with an estimated impact on 8,000 jobs throughout the complete value chain in the country.