Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies approved the revised guidelines of the Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP).

The purpose of the new guidelines is to ensure that small black entrepreneurs benefit from the programme, thereby fostering broader participation and ensuring that transformation in the sector is achieved.

ADEP, whose objective is to stimulate investment by commercially viable enterprises in the aquaculture sector, is a sub-programme of the Enterprise Investment Programme (EIP).

Under the new guidelines, ADEP maximum rental costs for small black enterprises have increased from R10 000 to R20 000 per month, while feed costs have been capped at 20% from the previous 10%.

Meanwhile the mentorship cap has increased from R50 000 to R200 000 per approval.

The revised guidelines have been in effect from 1 April 2019.

The dti says the revised guidelines will assist the sector to grow by stimulating investments, increasing job creation, ensuring food security and improving the competitiveness of the sector.

ADEP offers a reimbursable grant of up to a maximum of R20 million to qualifying applicants for new, upgrading or expanding projects.

ADEP was formally launched by the Minister on 28 March 2013 and it had previously been amended in August 2016.

The dti said in May 2019 that programme had been actively investing in the sector, with a total of 89 projects being approved with an estimated investment amount of R2.197 billion. This had led to 2 377 estimated jobs being created and sustained.

During the 2016/17 financial year, the dti commissioned a rapid assessment of ADEP. The report was released in February 2018, and the recommendations had been central to consultative engagements with all relevant stakeholders, including the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), leading to the approval of the revised ADEP guidelines by the Minister.