The Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality, through its agriculture and rural development unit, provides subsistence and emerging farmer support at various community agricultural projects in the region. The main aim of these initiatives is to foster community upliftment, improve the economy, eradicate poverty and allow profit generation for community members.
Champion farmer’s support plan for emerging farmers
One of the ways the unit tries to fulfil its mandate is by conducting farmers’ days in the region. One of these farmers’ days was recently presented in Bethlehem, where profitable beef production was the main focus.
According to the manager of the agriculture and rural development unit, Lebohang Moshwaliba, there is a distinct need for skills and knowledge transfer among emerging farmers in the region. The sheer number of people attending these farmers’ days bears testament to that.
“At this recent farmers’ day in Bethlehem, we had more than 130 people attending. What is especially heartwarming is that there are many sponsors who are prepared to invest in the development of our emerging farming sector. At this farmers’ day we had two representatives of major cattle breeds in the country. They were Bernard Burger, breed advisor of Bonsmara SA, and Dr Elsie Campher of the Helpmekaar Brangus stud near Harrismith. They had invaluable advice regarding cattle management and the right approach towards choosing the correct bull and how to become a stud breeder.”
Some of the other participants were VKB, Sernick, Afgri, Eskom, Mangolokweng Farmer Production Support Unit, a rural smallholder farmer outreach and capacity building unit that links with farmers and markets and the SAPS stock theft unit.
Cattle breeding, and specifically goal-orientated breeding strategies, Moshwaliba says, is something that many emerging stock farmers struggle with. The inputs from the two representatives of the Bonsmara and Brangus breeds were therefore greatly appreciated.
“We try to host a farmers’ day at least once a quarter in different parts of our region, and each day has a different theme. We also focus a lot on skills transfer through practical demonstrations and we also try and make it possible for our farmers to visit NAMPO in May by providing transport and entrance.” – Izak Hofmeyr, AgriOrbit