With an eye on helping new and previously disadvantaged farmers graduate to commercial status, the Mahikeng-based Kgora farmer training centre in North West has been on a mission to enhance farmers’ business management skills.
As one of the most celebrated projects by the North West government, the centre has helped more than 100 farmers level up their operations and, according to centre manager Thuthukani Hlangu, they are set to empower even more.
“We are a farmer development centre where farmers come for training on a number of courses, one of them being the [recently added] hatchery management skills course which we now offer.
“The aim is to get in touch with as many farmers in the province as possible so they could have skills on how to deal with their livestock and crops,” he says.
Centre signals progress
The centre recently added basic hatchery management training as one of the courses, offered to both beginners and experienced farmers.
This follows the completion of a mini hatchery which produces up to 2 000 chicks per week. It was established to train farmers who want to own hatcheries.
Another project recently completed is the installation of 180 tonne storage bins. These silos are fitted with an electronic conveyor for ease of loading and dispatch. This type of storage provides optimum storage conditions for the grain by controlling the temperature, keeping away insects, mold, birds and the like.
The silos will also be used for storing grains produced by Kgora itself, and to store feed and maize bought in bulk for mixing livestock feed.
The centre enhances farmers’ business management skills, which include record keeping, financial management, handling of different chemicals like pesticides, the management of storage facilities, value-adding and the like.
One of the beneficiaries, Matshidiso Maletswa says the help she had received through training assisted her in her poultry businesses.
“I came through and all I can say is that my business grew following my participation in the programme. I learned a lot of things that opened my eyes to how best to do the business.”
MEC welcomes progress
Reacting to the completion of the most recently added projects at Kgora, agriculture and rural development MEC Desbo Mohono says she is happy to see progress. She describes it as a milestone for the institution and watches with delight as the department’s dreams for the centre are coming true.
“What makes me happier is the fact that farmers will be the biggest beneficiaries of these developments taking place at Kgora. The main goal is to ensure that our farmers constantly learn new and old practices and adapt to changes in the sector,” Mohono says.
Fully geared for practical experience
Hlangu says aspiring farmers to attend the newly added training can expect to learn practical aspects of hatchery management. This will include the biology of egg production, fertile egg handling, setter and hatcher environment, among others.
“With the range of excellent facilities at Kgora, the centre is able to offer on-farm practical work for participants during training,” he says.
Kgora often donates chickens to farmers for rearing, as well as seedlings, to projects across the province.
Prospective farmers are urged to enquire with their local agricultural offices on the skills development courses offered at Kgora.
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