The Kgodiso Development Fund, founded by PepsiCo South Africa has invested nearly R10-million in two Limpopo potato farmers in a bid to propel black emerging farmers to the ranks of commercial farmers in South Africa, an industry dominated by white farmers.
Phophi Raletjena’s farm received funding of R7-million for his farming operation, an investment that will cultivate 50 hectares of land.
The agreement between the parties will see 30% of the production at the farm dedicated to PepsiCo South Africa, which produces Simba chips.
“Potatoes are a crop of the future, presenting opportunities to address food security. With the support from Simba, I’m on a mission to feed the world with potatoes,” Raletjana said.
Another beneficiary is a female farmer, Zelda Masoga, who secured R1-million in funding for her Mazeli Farming and Projects.
Masoga works 10 hectares and she is currently applying to PepsiCo SA to supply potatoes for its potato chip business.
“In our humble beginnings, we initiated our farming venture with a small backyard plot. As demand steadily increased, it became evident that this space could no longer suffice. Subsequently, we expanded to a larger farm – a transition not without its hurdles, particularly as a woman farmer,” Masoga said.
“Throughout this journey, we’ve learned the value of patience, as farming yields no instant gratification. With this financial injection, we are poised not only to expand our business but also to play a pivotal role in job creation, while ensuring that more families have food on their table.”
Raletjena and Masoga’s operations are located in the potato belt within the Capricorn District of Limpopo, renowned for its superior quality potatoes.
US-based PepsiCo produces household products in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
Its beverage and convenient foods portfolio includes Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola and Mountain Dew, among other brands.
The group, which generates $1-billion in estimated annual retail sales, also owns brands such as Weet-Bix, Simba, Liqui Fruit, Lay’s, Sasko and White Star.
Diale Tilo, the executive director of the Kgodiso Development Fund, said agriculture is a vital engine of growth for the South African economy.
“This sector has the potential to uplift many struggling South Africans by increasing food production, stimulating economic activity, and creating job opportunities. The fund’s mission is clear: to create shared value solutions that enhance the long-term sustainability and resilience of the country’s food system,” Tilo said.
The fund was created following the 2020 R26-billion takeover of Pioneer Foods by PepsiCo, a transaction that today is the US company’s largest deal made outside its home market.
One of the conditions of the deal was that PepsiCo will set up a development fund of R600-million, which includes R300-million for emerging farmers, R200-million for scholarships to historically disadvantaged individuals, and R100-million for entrepreneurs.
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