South Africa


Despite being a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources, South Africa continues to face high unemployment, poverty and inequality.

TechnoServe’s work is closely aligned with the government’s new National Development Plan, which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by drawing on the energies of the people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing state capacity and promoting leadership and partnerships.

TechnoServe's vision is to help generate sustainable growth across the country and to make the benefits and opportunities of economic growth accessible to everyone. TechnoServe is working with smallholder farmers to build competitive farms and gain access to formal markets and financial services. We are also working with entrepreneurs from a wide range of sectors to help grow successful businesses that generate jobs and income in their communities.


TechnoServe is currently working with approximately 300 high-growth smallholder farmers across six programs in six South African provinces. By 2015, this number will increase to 1500 farmers, affording us the opportunity to make a significant impact in economic development and job creation. In addition, our growing number of entrepreneurial programs have assisted over 500 entrepreneurs to date.


Entrepreneur Helps South Africans Eat Better

TechnoServe’s South African business plan competition has helped Sindi Mbambo jump-start a fresh and frozen foods business which supplies the market with healthy food options.

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Investing in the Future

A poultry cooperative is being helped to grow and create new income opportunities in a region hard-hit by South Africa's apartheid history.

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On The Ground



Contributing to Poultry Thinking in SA

TechnoServe and Citibank have partnered to conduct an in-depth study of the poultry industry in South Africa to clarify and identify key areas in the poultry value chain for smallholder farmer participation. Over eight black-owned poultry businesses will be selected to receive incubation services over a period of nine months. TechnoServe will identify how different business models perform and key lessons learned. These observations will be packaged as scalable models and shared with the poultry industry in order to facilitate the inclusion of small-scale farmers into the mainstream poultry value chain.



Empowering Urban Women Entrepreneurs

The Accelerating Urban Women Entrepreneurs in South African Metros (AUWESAM) program aims help support aspiring women and young entrepreneurs in metropolitan areas, create jobs and make efficient use of enterprise development funds. AUWESAM will support 30 entrepreneurs through mentorship, business development services and access to finance to improve their small businesses. Outcomes will be documented and a paper will be produced and disseminated to key enterprise development entities, provincial entities and the Incubation Support Programme run by the South African Government’s Department of Trade & Industry.



Incubating to Create Employment

TechnoServe is providing one-on-one support, mentoring and acceleration services to small businesses from poor areas through a 12-month targeted business incubator initiative in order to foster job creation and economic development. The program is currently supporting the winners of a TechnoServe-operated business plan competition called Believe Begin Become. All three businesses are successfully progressing into their next stage of growth.



Supporting Standard Bank to Grow Small Businesses

Standard Bank has partnered with TechnoServe to provide business development services to beneficiaries of a regional business grouping scheme. Tutuwa scheme beneficiaries are supported through Standard Bank dividends and access to financial/business development services to help them improve the sustainability of their businesses. TechnoServe has provided tailored support to drive the competitiveness and sustainability of beneficiary businesses. A recent feasibility study has showed that the percentage of sustainable businesses in the group increased from 75 percent to 92 percent.


Standard Bank

Moving Forward with Standard Bank

In 2011, TechnoServe partnered with Standard Bank to help farmers in the Mutale area address challenges with loan repayment. Our work focuses on addressing challenges faced by farmers by helping them to improve their business and technical skills, create sustainable relationships with the financial services sector and improve access to financial services and diverse markets. Progress has been made: All farmers in the program are now employing good agricultural practices, have commercially compliant records and accounts, and are successfully supplying Tiger Brands as well as other formal markets.


Standard Bank

Making an Impact in KwaZulu Natal

KwaZulu Natal has vast areas of high quality agricultural land and is one of SA’s best watered provinces, but maintains high levels of unemployment. This led the KwaZulu Natal Department of Agriculture and Environment (KZNDAE) to partner with TechnoServe to facilitate the utilization of the province’s available resources in order to encourage the development of competent and sustainable smallholder farmers.

The KZNDAE and TechnoServe partnership has provided farmers with access to business advisors, horticulture mentorship, market facilitation and ongoing business development services. Farmers in the Jozini areas have been successfully supplying produce to Massmart and we have started working with farmers in the Vulamehlo and Midlands regions.


Accelerating Agribusinesses in the North West

TechnoServe is working with farmers in the Bojanala region of the North West province to help them to realize their potential, accelerate growth and contribute to the improvement of their communities. With funding from ABSA, TechnoServe selected 15 farming entities to partake in a holistic farm business development initiative. Technical expertise and business linkages have been developed to assist these farmers. Business plans with precise objectives have also been developed for each of the farming businesses.

TechnoServe has entered into a contract with a local packhouse which supplies fresh produce to several of the commercial airlines and has provided a secure market to many of the farmers in the program. The project’s success and impact has resulted in more funds being committed by ABSA in order to expand the program into Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.



Diversifying Incomes and Deepening our Impact

TechnoServe is working with 129 farmers in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga to improve their sugarcane yields and to diversify their production to include vegetables, enabling these farmers to increase their incomes. TechnoServe has developed a comprehensive turnaround strategy for these sugarcane farmers and is setting up a management company structure to support them. With the support of this program, it is expected that these farmers will generate over R4 million over two seasons and will employ 150 people. Loans and markets are currently being confirmed for 15 newly recruited vegetable farming units.


J.P. Morgan

Creating Support Systems for Emerging Farmers

TechnoServe’s effort to sustainably improve the livelihood of an increasing number of emerging black farmers in SA requires interventions to ensure our programs are able to reach scale. In this program, we have partnered with Ford Foundation to address three fundamental shortcomings that limit scale. This program involves interventions to achieve three major goals:

1. Consolidate the current TechnoServe development model in Mpumalanga

2. Create an enabling environment nationwide

3. Develop and implement a sound monitoring and evaluation system

We have developed and are implementing a highly successful market/packhouse/distribution center strategy to support emerging farmers. In addition, an application to support the monitoring and evaluation system went live in Q2 2013.


Ford Foundation

Directly from the Smallholder to the Shelf

In 2012, TechnoServe and Massmart Walmart launched a direct farm program which aims to put locally produced small-scale farmers’ produce on the shelves of Massmart. TechnoServe’s role involves training, mentoring, technical assistance and establishing links to both finance and retail markets for the farmers.

The program started as a twelve-month pilot with eight farmers in Limpopo in order to test and modify the underlying assumptions contained in the smallholder blueprint strategy and ensure the scalability of the direct farm program for smallholder farmers.

Since launch, several hundred tons of produce have been delivered and sold. The success of this project has led to a continued partnership with Massmart in which TechnoServe is working with approximately 87 new smallholder farmers.


Massmart Walmart

Promoting Sustainability in Agricultural Value Chains

In 2013, TechnoServe launched a program to improve the scalability and sustainability of our existing agricultural value chain programs in South Africa. This program addresses key shortcomings in the support systems and structures in which farmers and agribusinesses operate. By facilitating continued access to finance and markets, and promoting interventions to enhance the government’s enabling environment (extension services as well as policies), TechnoServe is helping the farming businesses in our programs continue to create economic opportunities in their communities long after the interventions end.

Blog Posts

October 29, 2015

Q&A: The Role of Agribusiness in Youth Unemployment

Rural development expert Cleopatra Ngulube explores the role of agribusiness in addressing youth unemployment.

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August 31, 2015

Green Bread: How One Entrepreneur is Changing His Community

Lufefe Nomjana, 25, is growing his bakery and improving the health of his community with business development support from TechnoServe.

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August 21, 2014

Photo of the Week: Fresh Sales for Vegetable Farmers

TechnoServe is helping South African vegetable farmers connect to new markets and improve their livelihoods.

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TechnoServe South Africa

13th Floor, Metal Box Building
25 Owl Street, Auckland Park
2092, South Africa

Tel: +27 11 482 6001
Fax: +27 11 482 5588

Sagay Moodliar

Country Director