An external evaluation process has shown that the Western Cape enjoyed a 62% success rate with the running of its 246 agricultural land reform projects in the province. Of the 38% failed projects, 24% was experiencing challenges while 14% failed completely.
This information was shared by Mr Mogale Sebopetsa, (acting) chief director: Farmer Support and Development at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. He delivered a Leader’s Angle presentation today at the University of Stellenbosch Business School in Bellville with his colleague, Dr Dirk Troskie, director: Business Planning and Strategy at the department.
The province attributes its success in the main to partnering with industry organisations to ensure effective support to land reform projects. “If we didn’t partner with the agricultural sector, we would not have achieved this success,” said Sebopetsa. “Government cannot farm. It is through the mentorship and other support from industry that those involved in land reform projects are able to make notable progress.”
The five indicators that were used for the evaluation were:
• Do farmers comply with tax and labour laws?
• Do they have updated business plans?
• Is there a secure market for the produce?
• Do they keep records?
• Does the business turnover allow for re-investment?
According to Sebopetsa, the highest scorings occurred on average in the projects’ ability to service debt, their access to markets and anticipated future growth.
On the downside, the lowest scoring indicators on average involved mostly environmental matters. These included the percentage of farming energy generated through renewable or green energy, the degree of water contamination from farming practices and also whether farms were used to their full potential.
Troskie indicated that the “Boompie Project” was one initiative where the Department was partnering with the deciduous fruit industry to expand the area under fruit production of previously disadvantaged farmers. It includes both new and established farmers.
The project also assists in linking the farmers to markets and allows them to participate in existing value chains. Hence, the quality, cultivar and technical efficiency is important.
Troskie explained that the industry provided trees and technical advice while the department was paying for land preparation, irrigation and drainage, among others. The viability of all projects was evaluated by the department’s Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, generally known as CASP.
A total of 469 jobs were created between 2009 and 2012 through the project. This was more jobs than would have been created if the funding for this project was invested in manufacturing, construction, mining or retail, Troskie said.
He cautioned against South Africa’s “inability to celebrate failure”, stating that people who do not succeed should be allowed “to exit the process with dignity and re-enter at a later stage with the knowledge acquired during their first attempt”.
This information was shared by Mr Mogale Sebopetsa, (acting) chief director: Farmer Support and Development at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. He delivered a Leader’s Angle presentation today at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in Bellville with his colleague, Dr Dirk Troskie, director: Business Planning and Strategy at the department.