This week saw the announcement of the roll out of a stimulus package to farmers in the Joe Gqabi District in the Eastern Cape. The support focuses mainly on livestock, mechanisation and farm infrastructure on four farms. We are told that to date, all the planned livestock and mechanisation has been delivered to the four farms.
It is laudable, of course, to support these farms with mechanisation which has become out-of-reach to small-scale farmers because of the price. There have been similar previous interventions like the Masibuyele Emasimini programme that included the provision of tractors. Refer to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group’s account of a 2013 report back, “Mechanisation Programme & Tractor Allocation: National Department briefings“, where problems like supply of fuel, tractor maintenance and use are listed and discussed. We trust that with good management, disappointing outcomes will be avoided.
What also makes sense (or makes more sense?) is that the provincial government in the Eastern Cape has previously funded the training of small scale farmers in animal traction, and sourced modern animal drawn equipment from Brazil and elsewhere to support small-scale farmers.
This week a second notification we received was of a virtual conference, May 8-9, 2021 on the topic “Draft Animals in the Past, Present and Future“.
Draft animals play a role in agriculture and other sectors worldwide, and offer “sustainable, ecofriendly and economically valuable ways of land-use”. The virtual conference will look at challenges of draft animals and where matters are at with this technology. Participation is free of charge. The conference video (just below 4 minutes) is below.