The Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) MEC, Nonkqubela Pieters, will close off Youth Month by handing over a shearing shed worth R1.1 million to farmers who encourage youth participation.
As part of the commitment to providing proper infrastructure to communal farmers, Pieters will today hand over the shed to the Bell Woolgrowers Association at Bell village in Ngqushwa.
Despite the association having only two young members, it has lobbied youth to participate in their seasonal activities so that they can be motivated to venture into the wool business.
According to the department, before the department’s investment, the 21 farmers were using an old rondavel during wool shearing season, with no equipment like the sorting tables and wool balers, and the wool got contaminated.
“The new structure, with the necessary equipment, will ensure that there are no damages to wool and that the quality and quantity of wool will be improved. The farmers will receive more income for the wool they sell.
“The farmers had about 1 193 sheep and produced 21 bales in 2022, which is set to increase with the new structure. DRDAR is also providing technical advice, demonstrations on shearing and wool sorting, veterinary programmes like dosing, vaccination and dipping, as well as training,” the department said.
During shearing season, about eight shearers are temporarily hired by the association and about eight jobs for five men and three women were created during the construction of the shearing shed.
The department noted that the Ngqushwa shed is part the of 20 shearing sheds that were constructed by DRDAR in Alfred Nzo, Amathole, OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Joe Gqabi and Sarah Baartman districts in the 2022/23 financial year.
The department said a budget of R24. 4 million has been set aside in 2023/24 financial year to construct 17 shearing and multipurpose sheds, including the renovation of two shearing sheds and the provision of shearing equipment for four sheds in OR Tambo, Joe Gqabi, Chris Hani, Alfred Nzo, Amathole and Sarah Baartman District Municipalities. – SAnews.gov.za