Additional funding has been provided for Gougakhoi Stock and Crop Co-op, a Riviersonderend group of up-and-coming farmers who have hopes of breeding cattle for the market.
The co-op, which is based in the Western Cape’s Theewaterskloof Municipality, was started in 2011 and aims to rear breeding cattle for the market on land leased by the local municipality. It is funded by the Klipheuwel Wind Farm, and is the third project the farm has undertaken.
Gougakhoi Stock and Crop Co-op started in 2011 with the hope of breeding cattle for market, reared on land leased from the local municipality.
Farmer Vernon Hendricks, co-op board secretary, explains that the funding will provide fencing and other needed infrastructure as well as provide business training over the next period, to help sustain growth.
“Our dilapidated fencing, which has allowed our cattle to break out and cause trouble as well as be a danger to road-users, can now be replaced,” he said.
This is the third agricultural project that Klipheuwel Wind Farm is funding, as it is at the heart of its enterprise development programme.
It says it is committed to support sustainable local developments in the wind farm’s surrounding communities who require assistance to increase their chances of success.
To this end, the wind farm has identified agriculture as one of the sectors that can drive the development within Theewaterskloof communities, whilst helping to contribute towards food security in the surrounds.
Water security prioritised
Funding and business support is being provided by the Klipheuwel Wind Farm, and the work going into improving the standard of the herd is being provided by the Western Cape department of agriculture.
A borehole has been installed, and funding for additional fencing has been provided as well to replace the previously dilapidated structures.
Water security has been prioritised, as it remains a challenge in the area, as in many other parts of the country. The addition of a borehole will help the co-op secure water access for both the livestock and irrigation.
“The new borehole will directly impact our productivity, plus, our plans to grow crops hinge on access to water,” explained Hendricks.
The farmers are currently rearing a mix breed of Hereford and Jersey cattle, but their plan is to improve their beef production by introducing Nguni cattle, known for its hardiness, resistance to disease and adverse weather conditions and to cross another breed to improve the meat quality and other important traits.
Hence, the plan is to provide artificial insemination training for the co-op members. Further planning for this stage of the development programme will be managed through close consultation with the department of agriculture, which the wind farm is looking to for the necessary expertise.
Aiming for sustainable farming
“With the right support and mentoring, emerging farmers of outlying communities such as the Gougakhoi Co-op, can grow, create jobs and benefit community members through local employment,” explained Parmas Chetty, economic development manager for Klipheuwel Wind Farm.
“This project is of particular importance as farming is one of the biggest economic drivers in this area. We believe that ongoing support of this sector will help to address the socio-economic development challenges, including local employment”.
The Klipheuwel Wind Farm’s enterprise development programme looks to empower small enterprises. It operates within the Theewaterskloof municipality’s communities of Botriver, Tesselaarsdal, Riversonderend, Greyton, Genadendal, Villiersdorp, Grabouw, Caledon, Hermanus and Kleinmond.