Farmers sought for Nguni cattle project

South Africa’s North West province has called on interested farming communities to apply to participate in the final phase of a stock farming development project, which gives successful applicants 24 Nguni cattle in the form of a loan, before the end of June 2010.

The Nguni cattle have been chosen specifically because they are an indigenous breed and can thrive under difficult conditions. (Image: Storm Signal)

Brand South Africa reporter

The project is a partnership between the North West Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Rural Development, the Industrial Development Corporation and the North West University’s Mafikeng campus, and has shown remarkable growth since its inception four years ago.

Project manager Andrew Mathe says all interested farmers must fill in application forms which are available from all local development centres and district offices. They should then be submitted for a selection process that includes short listing of potential beneficiaries, interviews and an on-site visit by the provincial technical committee to verify information provided by applicants.

The province is urging especially young aspirant farmers and female farmers to take advantage of this opportunity and apply for participation.

Participation criteria

The set criteria for participation in the project includes sufficient land to accommodate livestock numbers at recommended rates; that applicants must be in possession of certified proof indicating ownership, lease-right or use-right of the land for the five year-long duration of the project; that livestock must be managed in a controlled environment; and that commitment to the project and that daily supervision of livestock must be ensured.

“There are however specific exclusions for participation in the project,” explained Mathe in a statement this week.

“Where personnel and their immediate families of participating institutions, all public servants and their immediate families and communities currently benefitting from any beef projects originating from the participating institutions are prohibited from participating in the project.”

For each successful application, 24 Nguni cattle – 23 heifers and one bull – are handed over in a form of a loan. Each beneficiary will enter into a contract, committing to return back to the project 11 heifers and a bull after five years and keep the remaining number and any progeny resulting from efficient management of the herd.

Successful applicants receive 24 Nguni cattle – 23 heifers and one bull – in the form of a loan. (Image: IDC)

Reintroducing Nguni cattle

The main objective of this project is to reintroduce the Nguni breed of cattle into the province in large numbers, focusing specifically on emerging black farmers. The project is aimed at empowering these farmers with livestock farming skills and developing their entrepreneurship abilities.

The Nguni cattle have been chosen specifically because they are an indigenous breed and can thrive under difficult conditions. They are easy to maintain because of their low cost input, are reputed to have high fertility rates, and can withstand adverse conditions and diseases than other breed of cattle.

More than hundred beneficiaries from all districts in the province, who include both individuals and communities, have benefited from this project since its inception in 2006.

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