For Jac Jordaan, a farmer and founder of the newly launched Real Farmers Trust, farming has always been a passion and part of his family tradition which spans over decades. The initiative empowers farmers with the bargaining power and support they need on their growth journeys.
Jordaan’s family has been farming over 300 years in the Eastern Cape, primarily in the Somerset East and Cradock areas with livestock.
“I was a certified public accountant and then, about 13 years ago, I took over the family business. And that’s where my journey in agriculture began formally,” Jordaan says.
For the last two to three years their family business has been on a journey to develop new farmers in getting their livestock businesses off the ground.
In 2021 they teamed up with Agri-Pedia and received funding from Agri-Seta to launch a training programme, in which 240 farmers were trained in goat farming. However, they soon realised that the farmers needed more than what they offered.
“Real Farmer Trust conducted a three-week training course focusing on something that can add value to the business’s growth and something that will constantly merge with them.”
According to Jordaan, the sole purpose is to develop its members, both personally and professionally, as well as to make the business more sustainable and profitable. The first step in the process is to stay in touch with the farmers they meet and keep their businesses running.
Benefits to the farmers
Jordaan explains that there are numerous advantages to joining the trust. Initially, it was just for training purposes, but they soon realised that by combining their forces under one umbrella business, they were in a position to help and save participating farmers a lot of normal input costs as well.
“As a new farmer [many] of them do not have a lot of purchasing power. However, if we pool our purchasing power under one umbrella, we will be able to negotiate with suppliers.”
“And we’ve realised that there are a lot of monthly expenses that we can cover through the trust.”
Jordaan adds that they discovered many gaps in the businesses of farmers, such as insurance policies, short-term insurance and more. As a result, it was difficult for them to negotiate funding from traditional financial institutions.
“We recognised a significant opportunity to assist them in putting all of these things in place to benefit their business in the future.
“So, since we established the trust, we have begun negotiating and engaging with some suppliers. Well, they assist us in getting our beneficiaries to a better place,” Jordaan explains.
Becoming a member
The Real Farmers Trust includes every type of farmer, from vegetable farmers to orchard farmers, including students who want to learn more about farming.
You don’t have to be a livestock farmer to participate; anyone who is interested in agriculture is welcome. “You can even be a housewife who wants to do something around the house; anyone can join the trust,” he says.
The trust has an initial joining fee and then a monthly subscription.
Their offices are currently located in Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Kimberley, but anyone from anywhere in the country is welcome to join.
With modern technology now available, interested farmers do not have to be close to the offices, Jordaan says.
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