The Saamtrek, Saamleer, Saamwerk Farmers’ Association, a trailblazing force in the Northern Cape, showcased the remarkable ascent of women leadership within their ranks during a recent meeting at the Roodepan cattle post.
The event not only celebrated their accomplishments but also highlighted the association’s commitment to forging a path for women in agriculture. It also welcomed more young farmers into the fold, emphasising the importance of passing on agricultural traditions to the next generation.
Sehularo Sehularo, the chairperson of Saamtrek, Saamleer, Saamwerk, emphasised the need to break the chain of farming businesses ending with the first generation. He stressed that agriculture holds a bright future and that it is vital to introduce and nurture children in the field.
As a testament to their commitment, the association also recently aided a student in settling outstanding study fees, demonstrating the power of unity in agriculture and its role in shaping futures.
Advocate Itemogeng Steenkamp, centre manager of the Northern Cape Agricultural Incubator (NCAI), served as the keynote speaker of the day. He provided an in-depth overview of the incubator, explaining that it emerged as a response to the global understanding that small businesses are the backbone of any economy, with agriculture being no exception.
Given the vastness of the Northern Cape and the importance of food production and security, the NCAI was established to bolster government support for small-scale and emerging farmers and expand the operations of small-scale farmers across the province.
Steenkamp detailed the wide range of support services offered by the NCAI, which encompass food security, sustainable production, capacity building, agri-business development, and research, among others.
The incubator provides a comprehensive three-year mentorship programme, assisting farmers with business profiling, compliance with sector standards, and financial assistance through institutions like Land Bank. The goal is to create fully compliant, highly productive farmers capable of serving local markets and expanding into international trade.
Agricultural hub in the pipeline
The NCAI is currently developing a multi-commodity agricultural hub that will operate across all districts in the province. This hub will provide farmers with a platform to sell their produce and promote their businesses.
Representatives from the department of agriculture, environmental affairs and rural development, the police, and the local municipality also applauded the NCAI’s work. They assured farmers of ongoing support through programs such as the comprehensive farmer support grant, agricultural infrastructure development, and animal health services.
Community safety and security
Meanwhile, lieutenant colonel Pieter Jansen, Roodepan police station commander, called for cooperation from local farmers in safeguarding their farming precinct. He introduced the farmer liaison officer and encouraged farmers to establish a farmers’ watch programme to help enhance the safety and security of their property.
Sehularo concluded the meeting with a strong message that farming is a business, not a hobby, emphasising the need to implement the knowledge gained from workshops and training sessions.
The association is expanding to include poultry farmers and is exploring dairy production. Additionally, they are eyeing opportunities for beef exports to China in collaboration with neighbouring countries.
The Saamtrek, Saamleer, Saamwerk Farmers’ Association is making significant strides in the agricultural sector, promoting unity, knowledge sharing, and progress. Their monthly meetings serve as a valuable tool for achieving their goals and standards while laying a strong foundation for future generations in the farming industry.
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