A ground-breaking partnership between the KwaZulu-Natal department of agriculture and rural development and Karan Beef is poised to shake up the agricultural landscape, offering a significant boon to thousands of farmers. This initiative, set to launch formally in February 2024, promises unprecedented opportunities for growth and profitability in the farming sector.
MEC Super Zuma, during a visit to Umkhanyakude, unveiled the transformative deal aimed at propelling the sector forward while nurturing future commercial farmers. The collaboration between the department and Karan Beef is said to align with government’s vision of fostering a new generation of agricultural entrepreneurs.
The meeting held on Monday between Zuma, Afasa president AJ Mthembu, and Ivor Karan, the owner of Karan Beef South Africa, solidified a public-private partnership. This agreement is designed to provide abattoir services and a direct market for rural livestock farmers. Participating farmers will supply cattle monthly to Karan Beef, bypassing bureaucratic hurdles and selling directly to the industry leader.
Karan, whose feedlot started with fewer than 100 head of cattle in 1974, has expanded its capacity over the years to accommodate over 130 000 head of cattle, establishing the largest feedlot in Africa.
Empowering farmers and safeguarding livelihoods
Zuma expressed optimism about this opportunity, particularly highlighting its potential to empower previously marginalised black farmers. He underscored the livestock beef improvement programme, focusing on enhancing cattle genetics. By providing breeding bulls to communities, the KwaZulu-Natal government aims to enable the birth of calves with international market potential.
“Farmers will have monthly targets set by Karan Beef, and non-compliance is not an option. KwaZulu-Natal is poised to seize this marketing opportunity, ensuring farmers flourish on our soil,” stated Zuma.
The MEC also addressed stock theft concerns, announcing forthcoming measures to deter thieves. An anti-stock theft awareness campaign will distribute specialised livestock branding kits to associations, part of several programs aimed at job creation and poverty alleviation.
Mr Mbatha, an executive committee member of the provincial Livestock Association, underscored the sector’s significance to the province’s economy. He emphasised the importance of development programmes and expressed gratitude for government support.
“We rely on farming and aspire to become commercial farmers. Support during disease outbreaks is crucial. We are grateful for the assistance from the government,” said Mbatha.
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