A group of stud breeders from Grahamstown, Alexandria and Southwell, Frontier Bonsmara have taken the bull by the horn and they are actively training about 30 emerging farmers from the Ngqushwa municipal area to become commercial livestock farmers – for free.
The stud breeders have partnered with the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA) and they have already provided three training sessions to emerging farmers last year. In 2018, they have already completed an additional training session. ECRDA’s role in the partnership is to transport and cater for the emerging farmers during the training.
“The training has been running since 2017 where three training sessions were completed. One has already been done this year. The significance of these training sessions is not only theory as the emerging farmers are also taken on farm tours by Frontier Bonsmara to get first-hand practical experience on how to run commercial farms.
“Over and above the free training services, Frontier Bonsmara also made available 10 of their registered bonsmara bulls for sale to the emerging farmers at half the price that they would have fetched at a stud bull sale. For example, in the sale the stud bull farmers held in August 2017, each bull sold for an average of R42,000. The emerging farmers were sold the bulls at R20,000 each which are of the same quality as those of the commercial sale. Ten of the emerging farmers each bought a bull to improve their heads back home,” says ECRDA livestock specialist Mathemba Maphuma.
Maphuma says the plan is to extend the training programme beyond the Ngqushwa municipal area to include the Raymond Mhlaba municipal area in the next financial year. ECRDA also push the emerging farmers to attend all the training sessions as certificates are issued.
“We need to improve primary production in order to justify value addition activities. If we do not improve primary production we will have massive challenges at the value addition or beneficiation stage and we would have to import cattle from elsewhere which would be counter-productive to our efforts. This is why we are grateful to the efforts and role being played by Frontier Bonsmara in augmenting and complementing ECRDA efforts,” Maphuma adds.