MINISTER MEYER VISITS GRAIN FARMERS IN THE SWARTLANDCasidra
The Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, and Executive Mayor of the Swartland Municipality, Mr Tjimen van Essen, visited Swartland grain and livestock farmers, Alfreda Mars and Andries van der Poll.
Alfreda Mars farms with sheep and grain on her farm, Middelpos 946. According to Mars, the farm’s grain production has been doing well over the past two years. The drought, however, has also impacted her yield.
She is supported by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture who with Grain SA and the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO) provides funding, mentorship, training and market access support. Her plans include expanding into intensive sheep farming which will make her farm more sustainable.
Mars said, “Grain is always a challenge in times of drought. My intention is, therefore, to grow the sheep farming side of my business and even venture into vegetable farming.”
Andries van der Poll farms 16 km outside Riebeeck West on the farm, Klipdrift. He was voted Grain SA’s Best New Era Commercial Farmer in 2019, and van der Poll is well on his way to becoming a very successful commercial farmer.
His main product lines include livestock (sheep and cattle) and various grains, and soon they will start with bees.
Further funding was recently approved to fund his proposed diversification model aimed at intensive livestock production.
Van der Poll says “I aim to diversify. The farm’s current yield is about 3,1 tons/ha for wheat, 13 tons/ha for maize on 20 ha, 10 ha of lucerne. I aim to achieve a 140% weaning percentage for my sheep as well as a fully expanded agri-tourism component”.
Commenting on his visit to the two farmers, Minister Meyer expressed his satisfaction with their progress to date.
According to Minister Meyer, building a sustainable farming business requires hard work, passion, partnerships, skills, mentoring and a willingness to learn from colleagues and other farmers. Today I saw these in action at both Middelpos and Klipdrift farms.
Minister Meyer says, “I am pleased that what I saw today were two good farming businesses. Both farmers are committed to growing their farms into sustainable enterprises. They are also determined to contribute to the food basket of the Swartland Region”. “The Western Cape Government will, through its partnerships with commodity organisations such as Grain SA and the RPO, continue to support these farmers. Success in agriculture always happens when people are in the business #ForTheLoveOfAgriculture. Today I witnessed this again.” concluded Meyer.
MAIN PHOTO CAPTION: Alfreda Mars and Minister Meyer