Four farms in the Joe Gqabi District in the Eastern Cape recently received livestock and machinery worth over R35.5 million from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD).
The farms were selected as pilot projects for the department’s Land Development Support Programme, which is part of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Sixty-two black commercial farmers who farm crops and livestock were identified across the country to benefit from the programme. They lease land reform farms from the department.
DALRRD Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha says the support will ensure that the farmers are sustainable and help eradicate poverty in their communities and the country.
The four farms received 308 Bonsmara cattle and 290 Merino sheep. Each farm also received a tractor, trailer, scraper and fire-fighting equipment.
The Deputy Minister commended the work at Wepender Farm, where the Imbumba Cooperative received 105 sheep. He says he is inspired by the youth’s involvement in the agricultural sector.
“By having young people farming, we are building the future of the nation. We should be proud that some of the farmers are young. Gone are the days when we only saw elderly farmers."
Kholisile Yalezo, who leads the Dikela Farm Project at Vaalkop Farm, is one of the beneficiaries.
He received 128 Bonsmara cattle, which will make a major difference to his farm.
Yalezo arrived at the farm in 2014 and says it was hard to operate, but he persevered.
“Now that I have been provided with a quality beef-producing breed, it will be easy to sell my livestock after battling for years. The tears I had have been wiped away,” he says.
Pinkie Mbekwa, the owner of Hillhead Farm in Aliwal North, received 290 cattle.
“I am thankful to the government for what it has done for an independent woman like me. I want all women to see a living example in me – go and ask for help and the officials will assist you,” she says.
In addition to infrastructure, machinery and livestock, the department will also provide the farmers with skills development and market access opportunities.
For more information, visit www.dalrrd.gov.za