Paulus Mashiloane (53) left his engineering job five years ago to follow his dream of becoming a farmer.
He invested most of his pension funds in buying a farm in Sedibeng in Gauteng.
“I also bought start-up machinery so that I could start farming because I grew up as a farm boy and my wife and children are also interested in farming,” he explains.
The emerging crop and livestock farmer was fortunate enough to benefit from the programmes of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development a few years after starting his farming business.
He was given an opportunity to lease 400 hectares of land through the department’s Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy. This is a national strategy that was established in 2007 to acquire land for land redistribution under the Proactive Land Acquisition Policy.
The land redistribution programme focuses on previously disadvantaged emerging farmers who are black, coloured or Indian. It aims to redress the imbalances of past discriminatory laws which prevented black people from owning land.
The department also granted Mashiloane farming equipment and seeds to plant maize meal and soya through its economic stimulus packages, which aim to turn black emerging farmers into successful commercial farmers.
Mashiloane planted maize meal and soya on the arable land and uses the rest for livestock. His efforts have created jobs for four locals.
Government identifies suitable land for farming and then advertises the fact that land is available on different media platforms.
People interested in farming then apply and their applications are assessed. Those who meet the criteria are shortlisted and interviewed.
If successful, their applications are submitted to the National Land Acquisition and Allocation Control Committee for final approval. Successful applicants sign lease agreements before they work the land and benefit from other support programmes.
For enquiries, farmers should contact the following people at the department’s provincial offices:
- Free State: Percy Raseobi at 051 400 4277.
- Northern Cape: Moeketsi Ntsane at 053 830 4001.
- North West: Frank Lesenyeho at 018 388 7000.
- Eastern Cape: Thabile Mehlomakhulu at 043 700 7000 .
- KwaZulu-Natal: Sipho Dlamini at 033 355 4363.
- Mpumalanga: Zithini Dlamini at 013 754 8000.
- Limpopo: Nicholas Magada at 015 230 5000.
- Gauteng: Tshifhiwa Tshikhudo at 012 337 3707.
- Western Cape: Vuyani Nkasayiat 021 409 0300.
For more information, go to www.drdlr.gov.za