JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — As part of a partnership with Tiger Brands and development agencies, a group of small farmers in Johannesburg, South Africa, are preparing to harvest 3,000 tonnes of wheat.

Fifty-seven farmers participated in the Baphuduhucwana Production Incubator (BPI) scheme. It was supported by a partnership that includes Tiger Brands, development agency Zenzele Itereleng and Leading Edge Farming, which provided funding, training and mentorship to the farmers.

The farmers formed a cooperative by pooling their individual 7.5 and 10-hectare allocations to create the equivalent of a commercial farm.

“We were attracted to this initiative by BPI’s desire to be independent and drive to operate a viable commercial legacy enterprise to pass onto the next generation,” said Joe Matsau, chairman of Zenzele Itereleng. “Through partnerships like this one, ZI is reframing its role from purely that of a funder toward enabling community development in a broader context using more innovative and impact orientated partnerships.”

Under this initiative, funding for input costs is made available to farmers, and Tiger Brands then purchases these crops under an off-take agreement. The income generated from this agreement is used to repay the revolving funding facility, which is then made available again for the next crop cycle.

For next year’s summer and winter crops, BPI plans on raising almost R60 million ($4.1 million), increasing to R100 million by 2021.