In the Northern Cape agriculture contributes up to 11% to the provincial economy, making it a significant player in the provincial economy. The sector also contributes about 20% to formal employment in the province.
The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development considers rural development a key component in unlocking a number of opportunities in respect of sustainable livelihoods and food security. It has therefore undertaken numerous programmes to facilitate positive development in rural areas and growth in the agricultural sector in the province.
Production forecast for the Northern Cape
The arid nature of the Northern Cape climate results in relatively low carrying capacity for livestock production. However, the province is known for its high-quality meat and meat products. The recent good rains have ensured that an estimated 300 000 herd of cattle, about 4.4 million sheep and 350 000 goats will be marketed in this financial year.
Crop estimates also indicate a good year for irrigation farmers with an expected maize crop of 635 000 tons and a predicted wheat crop of 280 000 tons.
The grape industry in the lower Orange region experienced a good season and the table grape intake is expected to be 10% higher than the 2008/09 season. The province specialises inearly, seedless table grapes and an export crop of approximately 16 million cartons is expected. The grape industry in the province has established itself as the premium supplier of fresh table grapes to the European market in the pre- Christmas period. The winegrape intake is expected to have recovered to 170 000 tons, which is 30% higher than the previous season. Dry grapes or raisin deliveries are also expected to be significantly higher than the 2008/09 season where approximately 28 000 tons were produced.
The Northern Cape wine industry is a good example of how agro-processing can increase the viability, profitability and sustainability of production systems. It will contribute to addressing the risks associated with the primary agricultural production phase and has the potential to increase the province’s revenue base and create employment.
Key projects and partnerships
The Tshwaraganang Hydroponics project, which is situated in Windsorton, with a total of 18 beneficiaries, is a shining example of a partnership between government, private sector and local communities. This project is a success story as the participants are now supplying the Shoprite Checkers chain stores with English cucumbers and the project is making a profit of about R70 000 a month.
The Nomalanga Trust in the Siyanda District is a group of eight farm workers and farm dwellers who acquired 156ha of land through government’s Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAAS). The department was able to assist this project with R280 000 to buy implements and its not looked back since. The project is exporting to the European market and it is currently running a debt-free operation and providing employment to the nearby communities of Kakamas and Keimoes.
Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP)
Riemvasmaak was chosen as a pilot site for the department’s Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) in the province in 2009 when the last portion of its claim was finalised. To date the CRDP has achieved the following:
• Construction of a handling facility and livestock water point at Sending (Mission)
• Distribution of fruit trees and seedlings at Vredesvallei
• Construction of the healthcare facility has commenced
• Acquisition of an office in Kakamas, which is in the process of becoming operational
• Veterinary campaigns to ensure livestock health in the area
• Launch of programme to test boreholes on the new farms as well as constructing handling facilities for the new farms
• Upgrading of border fences
• Development of a master plan for irrigation development in Riemvasmaak and Vaaldrift as well as infrastructure development on the original communal land
• An approach to the Department of Roads and Public Works to look into the tarring of the road between Kakamas and Sending
• Plans to establish a bulk-water pipeline between the Orange River and Sending
• Development of an infrastructure plan for the 46 000ha that were handed over in 2009
• Allocation of grazing land to the community
Support for co-operatives
We are continuing with our work to train, mobilize our communities and create awareness of co-operatives throughout the province. We have over the last year been able to register 14 cooperatives with the relevant statutory authorities.
Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme
Through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP), the department has been able to assist 2 079 smallholder farmers with various production practices that they would otherwise have not been able to afford. During the 2009/10 financial year R57.389-million was spent on 21 projects and 662 actual jobs were created.
During the 2009/10 financial year an amount to the tune of R5.56-million was spent to fund 18 projects, benefiting 1 833 farmers and creating 123 jobs.
Interventions to deal with water shortages
The department instituted a study to investigate the possibility of water sources in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District. A preliminary report to this effect has been tabled and is being discussed with the Department of Water Affairs and the Moshaweng Local Municipality. In the meantime, the department has spent R10-million during the 2009/10 financial year through CASP and land care to upgrade and install new stock water systems in areas such as Pender R, Netherway, Herstersgeluk, Maphiniki, Nyra, Adderley, Dithakong and Loopeng.
The department has also been able to construct four overnight dams to the tune of R1.6-million through the Ilima/Letsema programme in the Phokwane area. It has spent R6-million for the sub-surface drainage system in the Vaalharts area, of which R3.2 million was spent on smallholder farmers.
The Niewoudtville Rooibos Tea Farmers continue to receive assistance in order for them to be able to exploit niche markets in the industry. The department remains committed to the commercial viability of this project and as such, has set aside a further R20-million in order to conclude the pasteurisation phase of the project.
Orange River emerging farmer settlement and development programme
Water rights have been allocated to smallholder farmers within this programme as follows: 440ha of water rights are in the process of being awarded to the Women Workers Trust of Carstens Boerdery and an additional 600ha of water rights are currently under consideration.
The department has funded development costs of wine development initiatives in three areas:
• Realeboga – 11.0ha
• Middle-Eiland – 8.5ha
• Blocuso – 18.0ha
Commercialisation of goats
The department has prioritised efforts to commercialise this industry and to date 131 farmers have been trained with 312 goats marketed.
Veterinary services have had to respond to an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in the province. The department has urged all farmers in the area and throughout the province to vaccinate their livestock. The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is working together with the Eastern Cape, Free State and North West provincial departments on the best way to prevent the spread of the disease.
Micro Agricultural Finance Institutions
Facilitation of the Micro Agricultural Finance Institutions of South Africa (MAFISA) scheme over the last year has seen 16 farmers in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District access loans for livestock production through the National Emergent Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (NERPO) to the value of R1 248 369.
Land reform and redistribution
A total of 16 extension officers were appointed during the period under review as part of the extension recovery programme, which will allow the department to better service the farming community. Land reform and land redistribution should be used as a catalyst for rural development and the upliftment of rural communities.
As far as land restitution is concerned, the Richtersveld community received a total of 16 204ha as part of phase two of their restitution claim and the Stratford community was given 4 834ha with a total of 35 beneficiaries. The Koopmansfontein community claim, with a total of about 3 538ha benefiting 505 beneficiaries, was also settled in the 2009/10 financial year. With regards to the Boven Campbell community claim, a total of about 1 931ha was handed over to the community. Cumulatively in the province, the department transferred about 73 103ha during the last financial year. The Regional Land Claims Commission in the Free State and Northern Cape has been allocated an amount of R260-million for the 2010/11 financial year, 25% of which will go towards post-settlement support and recapitalisation. There are total of 124 claims outstanding from a total of 2 883 claims that were lodged.
Key contact people: Mr Sipho Mbaqa, Acting Senior Manager: Communication Services
Tel: +27 53 838
Fax: +27 53 832 4328
Physical address: 162 George Street /
7-9 Elliot Street, Kimberley 8300