INTERGOVERNMENTAL efforts between the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform and the Mbhashe Local Municipality in Elliotdale had catapulted the Ngqatyana Wool Growers Association to a commercial level with the handover of a fully-fledged sheep shearing shed.
The R600 000 shed was built by the local authority in the 2020/21 financial year for the 35 members association, who had been shearing their sheep in informal structures.
To help them, DRDAR supported them with a shearing equipment worth R103 000.
The equipment included a wool compressor, baling machine, trolleys, sorter, shears, tables ad shearers.
They were also trained on professional wool production and continued to render veterinary support to the farmers to help maintain the flock.
MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Nonkqubela Pieters, said the quality of wool the farmers produced each season proved that, with a touch of professional equipment, they could produce world class wool.
MEC Pieters said that they were operating with limited resources; therefore working with other spheres of government and other stakeholders was critical.
“This fiscal year it is your turn to benefit from your government as was the case to others in the past.
“We are giving you a stepping stone to add value to your wool. This equipment will drive you to a commercial level, where you will participate meaningfully in the world’s economy because most of our wool is shipped abroad,” said Kotsiwe.
Chairperson for the Ngqatyana Wool Growers Association, Mpumelelo Bhalindaba, said this was going to be their first shearing season since they received the rams.
“I can say from now onwards, we are professionals in wool production. The days of shearing on muddy surfaces with substandard equipment that tend to lower the quality of our wool are over now,” said Bhalindaba.
They sell their wool to one of the country’s wool specialists Cape Mohair and Wool (CMW).