The Nketoana Local Municipality in the Free State has signed a five-year partnership agreement with the Sernick Group to boost the red meat industry in the province’s Thabo Mofutsanyane District, comprising Arlington, Lindley, Petrus Steyn and Reitz.
Nketoana’s Executive Mayor, Mamiki Mokoena, hopes to employ several young people through this programme and in the process encourage them to reside and work in the district. Nketoana is the second-smallest of six municipalities in the district, making up 17% of its geographical area.
The new project focuses on supporting new farmers whilst promoting agricultural entrepreneurship to benefit the respective towns. The first phase of two project phases is already successfully completed.
During the first phase of the initiative, the Sernick Group trained 100 emerging farmers in two short cattle courses.
The training was sponsored by the Sernick Emerging Farmers Programme and supported by National Treasury’s Jobs Fund. Each trainee received a certificate as confirmation of their participation and completion of both courses. The second phase will deal with all possible commonage dilemmas the new farmers might encounter.
“Here we will encourage herd health as well as herd productivity. The group will work very closely with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. We would like farmers to see the potential of a healthy productive herd in order for it to bring sufficient income to each household,” says Patrick Sekwatlakwatla, who has initiated the Emerging Farmers Programme at Sernick.
During the second phase, several feasibility studies will be undertaken for various value chain projects to be established in Nketoana. Once the feasibility studies have been proven at a bankable level, they will be implemented with potential project partners. This will include feedlots, maize mills, feed mills, retail outlets as well as an abattoir.
The total anticipated cost will be between R360 and R400 million which will be obtained from various grant agents, financial development institutions and the private sector.
This partnership is a first for the Nketoana Local Municipality, embarking on a long-term relationship with the Sernick Group.