Grain SA's Farmer Development Programme (FDP) has partnered with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) to empower developing farmers across the country, Engineering News reports.
After many requests for assistance from the Department of Agriculture to help struggling farmers, says FDP national coordinator Jane McPherson, the FDP was awarded R36-million for a pilot programme in the Free State by the DRDLR, who stipulated that the FDP had to select farmers who are the beneficiaries of land reform.
16 farmers, who had been through the Grain SA Development Programme were selected as beneficiaries of the R36- million. "We wanted farmers we knew - farmers we have journeyed with," says McPherson. She and her team of contracted facilitators living in the developing farming regions across South Africa have helped the selected farmers develop business plans, use their money productively to buy machinery specific to their individual needs, refurbish existing machinery and fix other farming implements, such as reservoirs and windmills.
Facilitators also helped some farmers renovate and stock workshops on the farms. "Everybody who needed tools and equipment bought it with this money and, from now on, they can do their own repairs," McPherson said. She stressed that the facilitators only advised the farmers on their spending options. The farmers, she told Engineering News, were always at the helm when it came to finalising decisions. The FDP is open to assisting anyone with land, McPherson said. "We don't care whether the land is hired land or communal. As long as you've got access to land, we can help you use it better."
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