Oct 2023 1st edition

Land Distribution Programme fuels path to commercial farming

Written by Anele Zikali

Thanks to the government's land redistribution programme, a determined farmer in Limpopo, has transformed her dream of commercial farming into reality and is now creating job opportunities for her community.

A Limpopo-based farmer is on a mission to end poverty, unemployment and inequality through creating jobs. After spending several years applying for land and financial support without success, Thabitha Chauke’s dream of owning a commercial farm became a reality in September 2022 when she had a 1239-hectare (ha) farm being leased to her by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). Her Kedithabita farm in Kaalvlagate in Northam, Limpopo employs ten people, five of them on a permanent basis. At the farm, she grows sunflowers and breeds Bonsmara cattle. Chauke always had a desire for large-scale farming. Thabitha

She took over her father’s farm when he passed away in 2010 and relentlessly looked for opportunities to expand it. “I used to share land for grazing and I had no choice but to do a mixed breed of cattle. The land was owned by the traditional leader and it was difficult to find a market to sell our crops.

“You can just imagine moving from 13 ha to 1230 ha is a big achievement because I always wished to go to commercial farming.” Chauke is grateful for the support that the DALRRD has given her.

“I want to thank DALRRD for this farm. There are still a lot of women that are looking for these kinds of opportunities, I would like to say to the department, continue to assist them.”

Land Redistribution Programme

Chauke applied through the Land Redistribution Programme which is led by the DALRRD.

She was the successful candidate out of seven selected applicants. The farm, which cost of R12. 5 million, has been leased to her for a period of 30 years. Dr. Mukovhe Nthai, the Director of Strategic Land and Acquisition at DALRRD explained the programme during a site visit by the department at Chauke’s farm.

“The Land Redistribution Programme is under the Land Reform Programme based on section 25 of the constitution. It seeks to provide the previously disadvantaged and poor people with access to land, so that they can participate in the economy through Agriculture, it’s main intention is to improve livelihoods.”

After receiving the farm, the department provides further support under its Land Development Support programme. Chauke received farming equipment, machinery, a farm house and other support that includes diesel, fencing, salary payments for the first cycle and seeds. “This programme is based on the willing buyer and willing seller principle. “After we have acquired the land we immediately advertise it on our local media houses so that we can be as transparent as possible, and for us to reach a pool of applicants,” said Dr. Nthai.

South Africans interested in leasing a farm from the DALRRD should visit their nearest DALRRD offices or visit www.dalrrd.gov.za

• Thabitha Chauke can be reached on thabithafarm@gmail.com

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