Emerging farmers in the Eastern Cape are struggling to restock pig herds after the 2005 outbreak of swine fever forced them to cull all pigs.
The Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture gave the go-ahead for a restocking programme, but so far hasn’t delivered on a promise to assist with building pig houses. A lack of funds is also hampering the restocking process. The biggest constraint is finance, according to Qeda Nyoka, the emerging farmer project manager at the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO). “Piggeries require high capital investment,” said Nyoka. “As emerging farmers lack start-up capital, it limits their chances to access loans from formal financial institutions. There has been no growth in the number of emerging farmers entering the industry. Even those who have already started, haven’t been able to increase farm sizes. Availability of suitable land and necessary knowledge are secondary problems.”
SAPPO is currently giving technical assistance in the form of mentorship, training and professional advice to projects in Doornspruit in Limpopo and Potchefstroom and Ventersdorp in the North West. “Our mentorship programme is continuing on two farms in Tarlton, in Kanaan in Gauteng and in the uThungulu District in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Nyoka.
SAPPO is training 105 animal health technicians (AHTs) in the Eastern Cape municipal areas of Amathole, OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo as part of the restocking programme. “We will also identify emerging farmers with the potential of becoming commercial farmers. We will assist these farmers to become rolemodels,” explained Nyoka. ”SAPPO is planning to actively engage financial institutions to buy into this idea.” He added SAPPO is giving presentations on commercially viable piggery projects to willing stakeholders and financial institutions. “The objective is to shed light on the potential of emerging farmers as important roleplayers in the pork-production value chain,” he said. – Peter Mashala