Nerpo gets tough on farmer upliftment

The executive council of the National ­Emerging Red Meat Producers’ ­Organisation (Nerpo) has handed ­copies of a ­memorandum to MECs from all ­livestock-­producing provinces, demanding that its ­submissions be ­immediately addressed by agriculture and land affairs minister Lulama Xingwana.

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The executive council of the National ­Emerging Red Meat Producers’ ­Organisation (Nerpo) has handed ­copies of a ­memorandum to MECs from all ­livestock-­producing provinces, demanding that its ­submissions be ­immediately addressed by agriculture and land affairs minister Lulama Xingwana.

Aggrey Mahanjana, Nerpo’s group managing director, said submissions included fast-­tracking the acquisition of commercial agricultural land and infrastructural development of rural areas, improved access to development finance, ­effective measures to combat stock theft, ­capacity-­building of veterinary services and improving land care programmes that would ensure the ­sustainability of the emerging livestock sector.

“We would like Statistics South Africa and the Department of Agriculture to immediately address speculative and unreliable databases on the country’s emerging red meat sector,” he said.

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Emerging livestock farmers own an estimated 50% of the total livestock in South Africa, yet they make a very small contribution to the GDP compared to their commercial counterparts. Mahanjana said the submissions contained in the memorandum address the stumbling blocks preventing emerging farmers from ­reaching commercial status, and if addressed would improve productivity of these farmers.

In an effort to address some of these issues, Nerpo has teamed up with Meat Livestock ­Australia (MLA) to capacitate more than three million emerging meat producers through livestock and fat management training courses which are set to start towards the end of February next year.

Mahanjana said recently MLA handed over a livestock production manual to help build capacity among the country’s emerging livestock farmers.

“This is as a result of a memorandum of ­understanding we signed with MLA and the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation this year aimed at ­sharing experiences and information between the red meat industries of Australia and South Africa, ­taking advantage of the socioeconomic and political ­commonalities shared by the two countries,” he said.

He is delighted by such a ­gesture, and said it is not only going to benefit Nerpo ­members but also other emerging farmers.

Mahanjana said the MLA deal includes the organisation providing the expertise and logistics for the first training seminar to be held in the Eastern Cape soon. – Fidelis Zvomuya