Matatiele farm­ers ex­pect good yields af­ter train­ing

Vuk'uzenzele - - Rural Developmg Enetranld Land Reform - Siya Miti

Farm­ers in Matatiele’s On­geluk­snek area in the Eastern Cape are set to reap the re­wards of mas­sive train­ing and fund­ing in­vest­ments.

This is thanks to the Ma­si­sizane Fund and the pro­vin­cial De­part­ment of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment and Agrar­ian Re­form.

Ma­si­sizane is an ini­tia­tive of Old Mu­tual that aims to con­trib­ute mean­ing­fully to em­ploy­ment cre­ation, poverty erad­i­ca­tion and eco­nomic growth through en­ter­prise fi­nance and sup­port to small, medium and mi­cro en­ter­prises. It has in­vested heav­ily ino open­ing up the cap­i­tal­in­ten­sive com­mer­cial farm­ing in­dus­try to small-scale black farm­ers. Matatiele, near the Le­sotho border, has been one of the main ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

The fund has in­vested R80 mil­lion in farms in the area, ben­e­fit­ting over 3 400 peo­ple from poor house­holds. As a re­sult, 498 peo­ple have found em­ploy­ment. Fif­teen farms ex­tend­ing over 3 500 hectares have been sup­ported.

MEC for Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment and Agrar­ian Re­form Mlibo Qo­boshiyane and Ma­si­sizane Fund CEO Zizipho Nyanga at­tended an event at the 150-hectare De­lam­ote Farm re­cently, to mark the start of the har­vest­ing sea­son.

De­lam­ote Farm re­ceived a R1.55 mil­lion in­vest­ment from the fund in the past year.

Owner Doreen Moshoeshoe said even though this was her first year as a farmer, she ex­pected a good har­vest of about five tons per hectare, thanks to the as­sis­tance of the de­part­ment and the Ma­si­sizane Fund.

Emerg­ing farm­ers com­mer­cialised

Re­cently, over a dozen Matatiele farm­ers re­ceived ad­min­is­tra­tive train­ing to help them bet­ter man­age the busi­ness as­pects of their farms. Farm­ers also re­ceived soft loans and busi­ness sup­port.

“We source grant fund­ing for farm­ers from gov­ern­ment and other part­ners, and give as­sis­tance in the form of loans and busi­ness sup­port to guar­an­tee a suc­cess­ful farm­ing en­ter­prise,” said Nyanga.

She added that the fund helps find vi­able mar­kets for the farm­ers and as­sists with off-take agree­ments that see the maize be­ing sold to big com­pa­nies.

“We are happy with the part­ner­ship be­tween the farm­ers, Ma­si­sizane Fund and the de­part­ment. With more of th­ese types of part­ner­ship, we can quickly ad­dress agri­cul­ture-re­lated is­sues. Mov­ing from pri­mary pro­duc­tion as we see here to value ad­di­tion is the best way we can grow our farm­ers,” the MEC said.

The de­part­ment has com­mit­ted R3.77 mil­lion for the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year. This is on top of the fenc­ing that it has al­ready pro­vided to the farm­ers.

MEC Qo­boshiyane said: “If we can build good re­la­tions be­tween farm­ers, in­vestors and fi­nan­cial lenders then we can turn what should have taken 10 years into a three­year project. This would al­low the build­ing of pro­cess­ing and stor­age fa­cil­i­ties so that when the maize price dips, the farm­ers can store their maize and sell it at premium prices later.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.