24 February 2006
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has thrown its weight behind a multi-million rand project to kick-start indigenous livestock breeding among emerging farmers in North West province.
In an agreement signed with the University of North West and the province’s department of agriculture in Mafikeng on Thursday, the IDC committed to provide R7.5-million over five years for the purchase of Nguni cattle and provision of basic infrastructure.
The project, the brainchild of the IDC, involves the supply of 12 Nguni cattle to 12 communal farmers annually over the five-year period.
The farmers will be expected to breed calves before returning the original dozen cattle, which will then be passed on to other farmers.
Nguni cattle have a high fertility rate, with a short calving time and long reproductive lifespan. The are also resistant to most parasites, and adapt easily to difficult grazing conditions.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the IDC’s Neo Sowazi said the partnership aimed to develop and promote a potentially lucrative export market for organically produced Nguni cattle beef.
“We anticipate that in the coming 10 years, our farming communities will have captured a substantial corner of the global organic beef market,” Sowazi said.
The project will be managed by the Animal Health centre at the University of North West’s Mafikeng campus. “Our veterinary surgeon will also involve students in the processes of artificial insemination and immunisation,” said the university’s Professor Sevid Mashego.
The first batch of the cattle are expected to be delivered to the first beneficiaries within the next month.
According to North West Agriculture MEC Mandlenkosi Mayisela, the beneficiaries, who have yet to be identified, will have to be people who are “passionate about cattle breeding and business”.
SouthAfrica.info reporter and BuaNews