Department of Agriculture Supports Goedgeloof Farm
Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, visited Goedgeloof Farm outside Barrydale in the Western Cape on Monday, 26 August. The Western Cape Department of Agriculture is supporting Goedgeloof with R2.5 million as part of its CASP conditional grant programme. The support to Goedgeloof included livestock and essential production inputs.
Van Rensburg praised the Michaels family for their entrepreneurial spirit and the courage to lease a farm belonging to the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries which has been lying dormant and neglected for 11 years. “This farm is well suited for livestock and feed production. You are currently doing well and I would like to see you stop renting the land and be in a position to purchase it from government. Ownership will open doors to financing and create stability for your business. If you can buy the land, your children can inherit it”
Van Rensburg said Goedgeloof has very good prospects for long-term sustainability, in part because a family with the correct skills and passions were the beneficiaries. Both Brian and Naomi have prior farming experience and they were prepared to rent the farm at their own risk initially.
The Western Cape Government has pioneered a unique commodity approach to support agricultural empowerment projects. Strategic partnerships have been forged with all the commodity organisations in the province. Working groups have been established comprising expertise from the private sector as well as government. These working groups evaluate all new projects and provide long-term assistance to ensure the sustainability of projects. Goedgeloof is being supported by the Grain Commodity Organisation and the Sheep and Wool Commodity Organisation.
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture is funding 60 projects, worth R135 million in the 2013/14 financial year. Van Rensburg committed his department to a 60% success rate for agricultural empowerment projects in the Western Cape.
Van Rensburg said tax payers' money should be invested in projects which have a fighting chance to be sustainable in a very competitive and risky environment. “If we identify the correct people and provide the needed support, land reform and agricultural empowerment will be one of the best long-term investments we can make in South Africa’s future”.