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Farmer’s Weekly brings you the latest agri empowerment updates from South Africa and the rest of Africa.

Unlocking value for smallholder raisin producers

Eksteenskuil Agricultural Co-operative has helped to empower a community and improve lives, demonstrating the true value of the co-operative concept. Filomaine Schwartz, office manager of the co-operative, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the entity’s role in raisin production in this part of the Northern Cape.

The uphill battle of a communal sheep farmer

Zolani Tsheko, the second vice-chairperson of the National Wool Growers’ Association, is a wool producer in the communal area of Thornhill near Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. Mike Burgess recently visited him to gain a better understanding of the production challenges faced by communal farmers, who Tsheko is obligated to lead in terms of his mandate.

A thriving empowerment agri project on the KZN South Coast

Started in 2008 to help ensure food security for a charity, the Siyavuna programme has expanded to focus on farming, training and growing its value chains.

Leadership and vision ensure success for community company

Since 2000, the government has invested more than R74 million in the Blocuso community in the Northern Cape. Dirk Claassen, financial manager of the Blocuso company, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about how the community has managed these funds to establish and run a thriving wine grape and raisin farm.

Empowering communities to cope with climate change

Local communities need to be part of the process of better understanding climate change adaptation. Moreover, supporting small green economies could assist in job creation for the community. An environmental project in Eldorado Park is seeking to do just this.

Pooled finances: The power behind a thriving small-scale producer

Inga Qeja is the owner of Bhayi Holdings, a business that grows vegetables near Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, and hopes to expand to include other crops and livestock. He spoke to Siyanda Sishuba about how a lack of access to finance is a major factor thwarting the growth of emerging farmers.

Successes chalked up by Grain SA’s Farmer Development Programme

In order to continue improving its food security, South Africa must rely on the contribution of all farmers, both commercial and emerging. A project that’s making great strides in both food production and transformation in the local grain sector is Grain SA’s Farmer Development Programme.

‘Be positive and make use of opportunities’

In 2022, the ALS Group, managed by Cas Joubert, his brother Thys, and partner Johan van Rensburg, was recognised as the Agricultural Writers SA Farmer of the Year for 2022. Joubert spoke to Magda du Toit.

‘Agriculture is the glue that keeps SA together’

André Brink, 2022 Syngenta/Grain SA Grain Farmer of the Year, joined his father on Groot Phesantekraal in the Western Cape’s Durbanville district during the 1980s when interest rates were high and cash flow tight. This, he told Magda du Toit, taught him the value of careful strategic planning.

The small town with big plans for hemp production

A company and a farmers’ association recently joined hands to start hemp production in Gouda in the Western Cape. They spoke to Glenneis Kriel about their plans to scale up the project to achieve commercial success.

Smallholders can help to regenerate farming

Small-scale farmers can play an important role in developing sustainable food systems that ensure both food security and the health of the planet. Marinda Louw Coetzee reports on how these producers can and should implement regenerative agricultural practices on their farms.

Citrus: a long-term vision for traditional communities

Thanks to a financial boost from various public and private entities, the Majeje Citrus company will be able to fully participate in one of South Africa’s most important agricultural industries within the next five years.