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Young farmer gets a boost

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

The winner of the Gauteng Young Farmer’s Award 2018/2019 is one of the latest beneficiaries of a government-run programme to help developing farmers establish Nguni cattle herds.

A  young award-winning farmer who is making her mark in the agriculture sector now aspires to be the next big Nguni cattle producer in South Africa.

Lerato Senakhomo (27), who runs Senakhomo Farming, wants to produce top cattle herds using the 72 Nguni cattle she was loaned by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of its Nguni Cattle Improvement Project. Lerato Senakhomo has a herd of 72 Nguni cattle loaned to her as part of the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Nguni Cattle Improvement Project.

“I want to become a commercial breeder and sell the animal hides,” she said.

Her 535-hectare farm, based in Nigel in Ekurhuleni, is involved in several aspects of farming, including bale production, sheep farming and now Nguni cattle breeding.

Senakhomo received the farm in 2014 through the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s land reform project and in February this year, she qualified for the Nguni Cattle Improvement Project, which seeks to re-introduce the Nguni breed into black farming communities.

She said that programme has taught her many aspects of cattle farming, including the importance of having a clear understanding of the breed, the process of registering calves and the importance of vaccinations.

Farmers who hope to participate in the programme have to meet several requirement: They must be black – as defined in the BBBEE Act 53 of 2003, be South African citizens living in Gauteng and they must have access to a minimum of 500 hectares of land suitable for cattle farming. There are a number of other requirements that relate to infrastructure and security, among other things.

Successful applicants receive a set number of pregnant Nguni females and one Nguni bull as a conditional loan which must be repaid within five year by returning an equivalent herd or through the payment of a sum of money equal to the value of the initial herd.

For more information on the Nguni Cattle improvement project call 011 240 3325.