Barley Emerging Farmers Economic Development

The BE-FED project seeks to promote the participation of emerging black farmers in the commercial barley production supply chain in South Africa. This initiative is carried through building a mutually-enhancing symbiotic public-private partnership (PPP) among Heineken (a Dutch beer manufacturer), Group Soufflet (a French firm specialist in malting), FABCOS (a black SME association) and the provincial government agricultural departments.

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  • ID: NL-KVK-56484038-C_006164
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There are 2.5 million black emerging farmers in South Africa who are mostly excluded from the mainstream agricultural economy because of their small size, lack of knowledge and access to finance.
In rural areas, men often travel to be migrant labourers in the cities, leaving women with land which is too small to plough for commercial farming. Projects that target this sector have the potential to significantly improve production levels and livelihoods of these farmers.

Opportunities that make this program possible include:

1). the current focus and interest of the government on improving the capacity of emerging black farmers and creating employment - eg via the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) framework;

2). the identification of existing black farmers with around 3000 hectares of land (40% irrigated) after several years of engagement between the government, traditional land ownership and FABCOS;

3). the willingness of Heineken and Group Soufflet to be critical players in the project and to invest in the construction of a new barley maltery at Sedibeng to provide a long term market for barley (Sedibeng brewery currently imports 100% of its barley requirements from Europe) and

4). the availability of seed funding from the Netherlands government through the Transition Facility.
Barley Emerging Farmers Economic Development

Target group

100 existing emerging black farmers are trained and equipped to supply the Heineken/Soufflet maltery. This result package will focus on recruiting, training and capacitating existing emerging farmers on at least 3,000 hectares to enable them to supply the required quality of barley.

The project will also identify 3 primary cooperatives with a membership of at least 10 farmers each. The project intends to train farmers in the technical and business skills they need to become profitable commercial farmers who are ultimately capable of supplying 20,000–30,000 tons of high quality malting barley per annum.

100 Agricultural students from South African colleges and universities will be recruited in a gender-balanced distribution and trained over three years to become new farmers of barley and other rotation crops.

An incubator (Buhle) farm approach will be used to train and mentor the young farmers to operate their own farms. After graduation, they will be assisted to secure land from government – this includes the development of a cluster-farming model for young new farmers whereby individual farmers share a larger farm and work together to produce barley and other commodities.
The pilot project will also identify a potential second incubation farm (with a capacity of another 100 students in 3 years) which will be used in a second phase of the project.


Critical factors in project sustainability are the long-term demand provided by the existing Heineken brewery (€400m) and the planned new Heineken/Soufflet maltery (circa €30m).
The project will also make deliberate efforts to prepare for continuity beyond its initial three-year pilot phase – including the identification of potential land for a second incubation farm.
Ultimately, sustainability depends on the successful adoption of barley farming by emerging black farmers and proof of improved livelihoods.

Goals overview

- Economic Empowerment (Output)
- Economic Empowerment (Outcome)
Interested in partnering up or donoting for this project?

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