Agricultural mentorship a flagship project of the Cacadu District Municipality

22 February 2022

A flagship project of the Cacadu District Municipality is setting the benchmark high with regards to agricultural growth in rural areas of South Africa. The Agricultural Mentorship Programme of the Cacadu District Municipality is the first of its kind and the only one that is being rolled out at District level in South Africa. The programme was developed in collaboration with the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and implemented in close cooperation with the agricultural commodity groups of emerging farmers, the relevant Local Municipalities and the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform. The core objective of the programme, which commenced in March 2009, is to establish a system that will allow for structured, long-term skills transfer from successful commercial farmers to emerging farmers in order to enable them to convert their farms into sustainable businesses. For this purpose, an experienced commercial farmer is contracted as a mentor in order to develop not only the production related skills but also to address management, financial and marketing skills of the beneficiaries of a selected project. The mentor then works with the beneficiaries on the farm over a period of approximately three years, depending on the complexity of the commodity produced and the original skills level of the beneficiaries. Municipal Manager of the Cacadu District Municipality, Ted Pillay, said that, “Significant progress has been made during the three years since the launch of the programme, with a total of 12 mentorship projects being successfully operated in seven Local Municipalities of the Cacadu District by the end of 2012. The project is certainly one we are very proud of since it is positively impacting on the quality of life of these individuals, while uplifting the economy of the communities as a whole”. Two of the mentorships that are showing great progress are the Uitkomst Farm in Ikwezi and the Lamoney Family Trust in Ndlambe. The Uitkomst farm was acquired through the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme. The farm operates as a trust, consisting of 3 households, with the main produce being mohair. Mentorship of the farmers started in February 2011 and the current focus is on human resource management, production management and water management. Similar to the Uitkomst farm, the Lamoney farm was also acquired through the LRAD programme. The farm also operates as a trust with 28 members. The main products of the farm are cattle (68 beef), 600 broiler chickens, 45 pigs and 38 goats. Mentorship started in February 2012 with the farmers undergoing training on beef production, financial management and agribusiness management. Currently, the farmers are being trained in financial and record management.

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