Rebuilding Empowerment Farms After Violent Strike Action
Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development recently facilitated the first hand over of a generous compost donation by Reliance Compost, as part of rebuilding efforts on farms in the Western Cape which suffered damages during the protest action in the Western Cape. Reliance has pledged 30mᵌ compost for each hectare of burned agricultural land in the Province.
Van Rensburg said the destruction also affected empowerment farms in the Western Cape, with 14 projects suffering approximately R 8.2 million in damages. Van Rensburg said the Western Cape Department of Agriculture set itself a target of achieving a 60% success rate with agricultural empowerment project it supports. The destruction of these farms are therefore of great concern to him.
Constitution Road is an empowerment farm in Robertson. It was initiated by the Robertson winery as an attempt to give the winery workers a stake in the wine industry. The project has 120 beneficiaries, with 60 hectares of established wine grapes, and the potential to develop a further 20 hectares. Constituent Road saw 3 hectares of vines destroyed by fire during the labour unrest. The Western Cape Department of Agriculture supports the project with extension services, mechanisation and establishment of vineyard and has invested R 3,1 m during the past 4 years.
Van Rensburg said he will see to it that all affected empowerment projects in the Western Cape makes use of the offer by Reliance.
Eddie Redelinghuys, Director of Reliance, encouraged the Constitution Road farmers to persevere and not to lose hope: “In farming you will still face many challenges. You have now suffered damage to 3 hectares, but some years Mother Nature will put your entire crop at risk. You have to be strong and make use of all the help you can get in order to survive in farming”