Communal farmers in KwaBhaca in the Eastern Cape have joined together to host a public auction of their livestock at Mjila village.
They want to promote the local economy through agriculture and encourage aspiring young farmers to consider commercial farming.
The public auction was the first to be held in the rural areas for the communal farmers. It attracted farmers from the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
The Eastern Cape is known for livestock farming. Both communal and subsistence farmers struggle to enter the commercial market despite owning millions of cattle, sheep and pigs. The public auction by communal farmers aims to familiarize local farmers with commercial farming.
Organiser Qhamani Mzobotshe says, “Now it’s time to step up the gear because we are evolving and we are in that process, so auctioning is one of the processes of evolution in terms of farming, so it’s the way forward for us in terms of being able to do such an event whereby you are able to sell you stock to people so that you can market yourself.”
Some aspiring young farmers hope this proposed annual event will create more opportunities for emerging farmers.
Thembakazi Peter and Mfundiso Sibhembe say, “What we think is like it is going to take us far as young farmers, it is our first time we are hoping to have more we are here to learn.”
“It’s the first auction that I have went to in the Eastern Cape, I have been in Mpumalanga, North West and it’s first time to be in the Eastern Cape and we support it and we will ask all the farmers to support and the government to be involved in it.”
Umzimvubu Local Municipality manager, Thobela Nota, says there are clear programmes to assist farmers in the region.
“We do have a farmer mentorship programme where we are assisting, this has indeed provided a platform and we believe that it is going to grow to be a bigger auction to be recognized, not only here but beyond even the province of the Eastern Cape.”
Deputy Speaker in the Eastern Cape Legislature, Mlibo Qhoboshiyane, believes auctions have the potential to boost economic development, create jobs and alleviate poverty.
“If we do not take land seriously, I do not think South Africa will be taking itself seriously as well. So, I am quite encouraged and I can see that many communal farmers that are high are highly spirited and there are buyers already from sheep, goats to pigs and indeed it’s an indication that we can be a successful nation one day.”
Communal livestock farming is one of the oldest farming systems in Africa. It’s associated with improved household food security in poverty-stricken areas of South Africa. This farming system minimizes economic challenges and joblessness.
The livestock auction is expected to be held annually to benefit the emerging farmers.
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