Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Friday visited the Hopefield Chicken Cooperative initiative in Hopefield. He used the opportunity to voice his concern on the effect cheap poultry imports have on the local industry. Van Rensburg said it is the role of Government to solve such problems for local farmers. "Government should not shift the blame elsewhere. If Government know there is a problem it is Government's duty to do something about it. Government should make it easier for chicken farmers in South Africa, not more difficult".
Van Rensburg told the farmers that cooperatives have many advantages and that the Western Cape Department of Agriculture encourages the formation of cooperatives. But Van Rensburg warned that cooperatives can only work if all members work together.
Van Rensburg also encouraged the farmers to make use of the Provincial Department's commodity approach, where empowerment initiatives are managed together with a specific commodity grouping. "Please contact my Department for opportunities within the poultry commodity group", Van Rensburg said.
The Hopefield Chicken Cooperative currently consists of ten members, each raising 2500 chickens per cycle. The chickens are sold into the Jewish market, which results in a premium for the Hopefield chickens.