Kokstad farm fights unemployment

PHOTOS: siphelele nketoEvaluating the growth of cabbages are A.J. Schoeman (left) and farm employee George Majola.
PHOTOS: siphelele nketoEvaluating the growth of cabbages are A.J. Schoeman (left) and farm employee George Majola.

THE Assaburgh Farm outside Kokstad has done what it can to address the problem of unemployment in the area by employing 100 people temporarily for the season of harvesting potatoes.

A.J. Schoeman who manages the farm, said the farm also has 60 permanent staff.

The farm produces potatoes, cabbages and maize, and supplies wholesales in Kokstad, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and the Eastern Cape.

“The farm has been operating since 2002 and has equipped many people from around Kokstad and surrounding areas with farming skills.

“People are skilled to plant and grow crops and fertilise the soil using machines,” said Schoeman.

He said most workers came to the farm without knowledge and through the skills provided by the farm they can become farmers in their own right.

When Fever visited the farm on Wednesday morning, women and men were busy harvesting potatoes and placing them into trucks.

Schoeman said the lack of rain badly affected production in the past two years as they have produced less.

“To have a good production we need the rain and sunshine to balance. We have started the season with rain and sun and it give us hopes to have a good year with more production.

“The higher the production, the more staff we can employ,” added Schoeman.

One of his employees, George Majola, thanked the farm for skilling him in growing potatoes.

“I came to the farm unskilled, but today I know how to grow potatoes and my life is better,” said Majola, who has worked at the farm for five years.

South African Communist Party Shayamoya co-ordinator Sihle Mbabala applauded the farm for employing people in Kokstad, saying there are many unemployed people in town.

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