Nkwinti: Black farmers must speak out
Bloemfontein - South Africa needs to hear from black commercial farmers who are passionate about what they do, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Saturday.
"We want to hear that often," Nkwinti told a gathering of black farmers and officials at a Red Meat Pilot Project in the Free State.
The event followed eleven partnership agreements formalised between eleven black Free State farmers and the Bloemfontein Abattoir.
The project entailed providing cattle to the farmer and then helping them to become fully commercial red meat producers within the red meat value chain.
The project fell under the department's recapitalisation programme, aiming to increasing agricultural production, to guarantee food security, to stimulate job creation and to graduate small scale farmers to commercial farmers in the agricultural sector.
'Not talking, but doing'
The farmers would run their red meat production arms under the eye of the department and Bloemfontein Abattoir.
Nkwinti said the success of the programme would be confirmed when black commercial farmers could "stand alone".
The minister warned that establishing black commercial farmers was not a "talking thing" but "a doing thing, a farming thing, a business thing".
Free State farmer Pitso Sekhoto, speaking on behalf of the 11 farmers involved in the project declared proudly that he was now a proper commercial farmer.
"I am proud to say I am a South African commercial farmer, I can compete with any farmer of any colour now."
Sekhoto said he received some R9m from the government to buy a Free State farm and he developed it to its current worth of an estimated R16m.
When to 'stop emerging'
He supplied milk to Woolworths and apples to fresh produce markets in Gauteng. He also bred cattle.
"We need to stand up as farmers because we as commercial farmers still need the help of government," he said.
He urged emergent black farmers to "make things happen".
"They sit and do nothing. Go out and make things happen," he said, adding that he did not leave the corporate world to come and relax on his farm.
"I want to make a success, I want to be judged on what I do."
Free State MEC for rural development Fezi Ngubentombi said government liked emergent farmers to say they were not emerging anymore.
"It must stop somewhere."
She commended black farmers for moving forward and not waiting around for government money.