North West Nguni Cattle Project lets developing farmers thrive
Beneficiaries of the Nguni Cattle Project are going from strength to strength and have won several awards in the 2015 Agricultural Research Council (ARC) National Beef Performers Awards. The project is a partnership between the North-West University's (NWU's) Mafikeng Campus, the Industrial Development Cooperation and North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
At the awards held on 28 August in Pretoria, the Medupe Agricultural project near Ventersdorp received the ARC National Emerging Beef Farmer of the Year Award. On top of that the Barui Driehoek Agricultural Cooperation in the Vryburg area won the National Commercial Best Cow of the Year Award.
The success of the North West Nguni Cattle Project can be attributed to the wealth of expertise this partnership brings forth which is based on many years of hands-on experience and research. Another is the project’s meticulous governance by a board of trustees which represents all three partners and closely oversees the running of the project and its relationships with beneficiaries.
To be eligible, would-be farmers must have fenced land with sufficient grazing, water and carrying capacity for at least 60 cattle. Once accepted the farmer receives a loan of 24 Nguni cattle, consisting of 23 heifers and one bull which all have already been immunised against tuberculosis and heart water. They are then given five years to grow the herd and during this time they receive support from a full-time project manager. After the five years, repayment is made to the board of trustees in the form of 12 young Nguni cattle (11 heifers and one bull). The board of trustees redistributes the cattle then to new beneficiaries. This ensures sustainability and empowerment of more and more upcoming farmers to become commercial farmers.