SUSTAINABLE FARMING ACHIEVABLE FOR LOCAL CO-OP
Additional funding for an emerging cattle farmers’ co-op, in the Theewaterskloof Municipality, which has hopes of breeding cattle for the market, has been provided. Funding and ongoing business support from Klipheuwel Wind Farm aims to support the sustainability of this small agricultural concern. The programme is working towards helping the group improve the standard of the herd, the initiative is being guided the Department of Agriculture.
Most recently, a borehole has been installed and funding for additional fencing provided, to replace dilapidated structures. Water security has been prioritised, as it remains a challenge in the area, as in many other parts of the country. The addition of a borehole will help the Co-op secure water access for both the livestock and irrigation.
“The new borehole will directly impact our productivity, plus, our plans to grow crops hinge on access to water,” explained Farmer Vernon Hendricks, Co-Op Board Secretary, who added that the funding will provide fencing and other needed infrastructure as well as the business training that the Co-Op has been receiving through this programme, all helping to ensure long term sustainability and growth.
The farmers are currently rearing a mix breed of Hereford and Jersey cattle, but their plan is to improve their beef production by introducing Nguni cattle, known for hardiness, resistance to disease and adverse weather conditions and to cross another breed to improve the meat quality and other important traits. Hence, the plan is to provide artificial insemination training for the Co-op members. Further planning for this stage of the development programme will be managed through close consultation with the Department of Agriculture, which the wind farm is looking to for the necessary expertise.
Gougakhoi Stock and Crop Co-op, in the Riviersondered area, started in 2011, with the hope of breeding cattle for market, reared on land leased from the local municipality. This is the third agricultural project that Klipheuwel Wind Farm is funding, as it is at the heart of its enterprise development programme. It is committed to support sustainable local developments in the wind farm’s surrounding communities who require assistance to increase their chances of success. To this end, the wind farm has identified agriculture as one of the sectors that can drive the development within Theewaterskloof communities, whilst helping to contribute towards food security in the surrounds.
“With the right support and mentoring, emerging farmers of outlying communities such as the Gougakhoi Co-op, can grow, create jobs and benefit community members through local employment,” explained Parmas Chetty, Economic Development Manager, for Klipheuwel Wind Farm.
Chetty continued saying, “This project is of particular importance as farming is one of the biggest economic drivers in this area. We believe that ongoing support of this sector will help to address the socio-economic development challenges, including local employment”.
The Klipheuwel Wind Farm’s enterprise development programme looks to empower small enterprises, within the Theewaterskloof Municipality’s communities of Botriver, Tesselaarsdal, Riversonderend, Greyton, Genadendal, Villiersdorp, Grabouw, Caledon, Hermanus and Kleinmond.