Farmer receives land

2016-12-14 06:01

The long-term goal of medium-scale commercial farmer Tetelo Waiting Kgopodithata (32) to become a ­successful commercial farmer is becoming a reality after his application to become a beneficiary of the ­government’s land redistribution programme was recently approved after a waiting period of less than two years.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform purchased Compton Farm, approximately 15 km outside Kuruman, for him.

Government reportedly purchased the land through the pro-active land acquisition strategy (Plas) at a cost of more than R12 million.

Kgopodithata’s case is exceptional, as applications in the Plas project usually take more than five years to process and in many instances applicants might even give up.

During an interview with the ­Beneficiary Selection Committee (BSC), Kgopodithata emphasised the shortage of young people in farming and cautioned young people to not venture into farming just to make money.

“I wanted to be an example to the youth, proving that one can make a living out of farming. Money should be secondary. Firstly, young people must have a passion for farming,” said Kgopodithata.

He lamented that young people were not taking advantage of the opportunities that have been created by the new democratic dispensation.

The BSC is made up of officials of the provincial Department of ­Agriculture, the national Department of Rural Development, as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations, organised agriculture and the district and local municipality.

The responsibilities of the committee include the identification of land in the district, the selection of beneficiaries and the approval of the projects for land reform purposes.

Kgopodithata motivated and ­encouraged other young people to consider farming as a career of choice and those who were on the waiting list or database of the department not to give up, as their turn would come.

According to him, his chances had been strengthened by the fact that there were not many young people who were interested in farming.

He attributed his love of farming to his grandfather, who used to own livestock, and his knowledge of best farming practices by visiting other livestock farmers in the area.

Kgopodithata has attended various training sessions on cattle feed and stocking rate, organised by the ­provincial Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

He was unable to further his studies after he had completed gr. 12, due to his family situation.

“I lost my father at an early age and I was raised by my mother, with little prospect of a better future.”

He revealed that he had to look for temporary jobs and with the money he earned, he bought livestock at local auctions in an attempt to start his enterprise.

Kgopodithata will enter into a lease agreement with the state for a period of 35 years under the state land policy.

Upon the termination of the agreement, he will be given an ­opportunity to buy the farm from the state or not to renew the agreement.

The assistance from government came after more than six years of farming on communal land.

Prior to this, Kgopodithata struggled with mixed breeding in his livestock and as a result, he could not specialise in one breed.

Over-grazing and uncontrollable livestock diseases also posed a challenge.

He is currently farming with 130 head of breeding cattle, 60 heifers and four bulls (one beefmaster and three bonsmaras).

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