Nguni project a boon for developing farmers

Beneficiaries of the North West Nguni Cattle Project are going from strength to strength and have won several awards in the 2015 Agricultural Research Council (ARC) National Beef Performers competition.

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At the recent awards ceremony in Pretoria, a beneficiary of the project, the Medupe Agricultural project near Ventersdorp, was named the ARC National Emerging Beef Farmer of the Year.

Another beneficiary of the Nguni Cattle Project, the Barui Driehoek Agricultural Cooperation in the Vryburg area, won the National Commercial Best Cow of the Year award.

The project is a tripartite partnership between North-West University, Mahikeng Campus, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the provincial department of agriculture.

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The success of the project can be attributed to the “wealth of expertise this partnership brings forth” and the project’s “meticulous governance” by a board of trustees, according to a statement issued by the North-West University.

To be eligible, would-be farmers must have fenced land with sufficient grazing, water and carrying capacity for at least 60 cattle. Once accepted the farmer receives a loan of 24 Nguni cattle, consisting of 23 heifers and one bull, all of which have already been immunised against tuberculosis and heartwater.

The farmers are then given five years to grow the herd. During this time they receive support from a full-time project manager. After the five years, repayment is made to the board of trustees in the form of 12 young Nguni cattle (11 heifers and one bull).

The board then redistributes the cattle to new beneficiaries. This ensures sustainability and empowerment of more and more upcoming farmers.