An emerging cattle farmers’ co-operative in the Theewaterskloof municipality is receiving support and funding from the Klipheuwel Wind Farm to help improve the standard of its herd, making the co-op more sustainable and stimulating local job creation.
The Gougakhoi Stock and Crop Co-op in the Riviersonderend area began in 2011 with the hope of breeding cattle for market, reared on land leased from the municipality.
Co-op board secretary, farmer Vernon Hendricks, says the funding is providing for fencing and other infrastructure, while the business training will help to sustain growth.
Support from the wind farm began in July and so far the co-op has received just under R140,000 in funding.
“Our dilapidated fencing, which has allowed our cattle to break out and cause trouble as well as be a danger to road-users, can now be replaced,” Hendricks says.
This is the third agricultural project Klipheuwel Wind Farm is funding in the surrounding community, as the wind farm has identified agriculture as a key sector able to drive development within the Theewaterskloof communities while also contributing towards food security.
“With the right support and mentoring, emerging farmers of outlying communities such as the Gougakhoi Co-op can grow, create jobs and benefit community members through local employment,” says Klipheuwel Wind Farm’s economic development director, Hlengiwe Radebe.
“The provision of the upgraded fencing infrastructure has meant the farmers have been able to ensure all their cattle are accounted for and don’t injure themselves unnecessarily, impacting on their quality for market,” Radebe says.
The farmers are rearing a mix breed of Hereford and Jersey cattle, but plan to introduce Nguni, known for their hardiness and their resistance to disease and adverse weather conditions, and to cross another breed to improve meat quality and other traits.
The wind farm is looking to empower small enterprises within the Theewaterskloof municipality’s communities of Botriver, Tesselaarsdal, Riversonderend, Greyton, Genadendal, Villiersdorp, Grabouw, Caledon, Hermanus and Kleinmond.