We have recently received the following update on the Aquaculture Development Fund (ADF):
- The ADF will be providing both finance and funding – administration of the fund will be DAFF’s responsibility. The finance mechanism will be in the form of loans at preferential rates. The funding mechanism will be similar to the grant funding currently provided in terms of the Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP).
- The mandates and terms of reference are currently being finalised for the ADF (to be completed by end of January). It is therefore not yet clear exactly which capital goods (and operational inputs) will qualify for finance and funding.
- It is important to note that emerging farmers and specially designated groups such as women and the youth will in all probability be enjoying preferential access to the grant funding mechanism.
- The loans are going to be provided by development finance institutes like the IDC, Land Bank and others. We know that some tilapia farmers have had underwhelming experiences with these institutions in the past. However, we have been assured that DAFF’s involvement along with further research undertaken by these institutions into tilapia aquaculture has brought a new perspective to the question of finance for our sector.
- It is envisaged that from 1 April all existing ADEP approved projects (for which funding tranches still need to be released) will be handled by the ADF. The dti will still be involved in disbursing the funds but all communication and administration will be channelled through the ADF.
- A number of systems and processes have been out in place amongst the various government entities that will be backing the ADF. In order to test their efficacy a pilot project will be undertaken at the end of the month to ensure any challenges are timeously addressed and that the ADF can hit the ground running in the new financial year (1 April 2018).