Farmer benefits from assistance

2015-08-26 06:00
FARMERS and representatives in the agriculture sector during their visit to the Dagbreek Farm between Phuthaditjhaba and Harrismith. In the front is Ronney Tshabalala. From the left are, back: JT “Thabo” Prinsloo, Bertus Cordier, Nthethe Makoele, Lek

FARMERS and representatives in the agriculture sector during their visit to the Dagbreek Farm between Phuthaditjhaba and Harrismith. In the front is Ronney Tshabalala. From the left are, back: JT “Thabo” Prinsloo, Bertus Cordier, Nthethe Makoele, Lek

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QWAQWA. – Farmers are experiencing a rough year due to the drought, but Lekhotla Makoele (65), a farmer at the Dagbreek Farm between Phuthaditjhaba and Harri-smith, says he is happy with what he has harvested.

He says it is better than nothing.

“I am happy. I could have had more than that, but things did not go well. I am sure some of the farmers have harvested less than what I got, that’s why I am happy,” Makoele says.

Mokoele, who was born in Ficksburg, started farming in 1989. He says farming was never easy for him, until he joined the VKB development programme in 2009.

VKB assists farmers with getting finance. It also keeps them updated about the latest cultivars and gives them advice on how to handle their finances

“There were many challenges before I joined VKB. We all know that no two seasons are the same. At times we don’t have rain and end up reaping less than what we sowed. However, I am happy with what I harvested this year.”

Mokoele says he usually harvests seven tonnes of maize per hectare, but this year he only reaped 4,5 tonnes per hectare.

“I joined VKB in 2009. Since then I have been doing very well.

“I used to harvest five tonnes per hectare before they came on board. It shows that there were things that I did not do right before.

“Bertus Cordier is my mentor and we have a good relationship. I don’t think I would have been here if it were not for their assistance.”

Staff members of VKB, Omnia and the Department of Land Affairs paid a visit to Mokoele’s farm on Thursday (13/08) while he was busy harvesting mealies.

“I became involved with the farmer (Mokoele) five years ago. I am responsible for the assessment of his credit application. Each year I visit him to get information from him to process it. We do that to make sure that he is not in debt,” Leon Bergman, junior credit manager at VKB, says.

Bergman says it has been dry this season, but points out that Makoele has done exceptionally well.

“He will be able to repay his debt and manage his obligations outside VKB. He is very committed to his farm and that yields positive results.”

Piet Potgieter, manager of Developing Agriculture at VKB, says he is happy with the result of the development programme.

He says Makoele has been working hard since they had entered into their business relationship.

“We assist farmers in all aspects of farming – things like finance, soil correction, seeds and much more,” Potgieter says

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