Mafikeng - Farmers in the North West have been called on to submit applications to participate in this year's Nguni Cattle Development Project.
The project aims to increase the number of Nguni cattle farmers in the province, because this type of cattle is low maintenance and can stand adverse conditions.
The project is a result of a partnership between the North West Department of Agriculture Conservation and Rural Development, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the North West University's Mafikeng Campus.
Departmental spokesperson, Bonolo Mohlakoana told BuaNews on Tuesday that successful applicants would receive 24 Nguni cattle, one bull and 23 heifers, to successfully farm for a period of five years.
"They will have to commit themselves contractually to the project for five years. At the end of the term, they have to return one bull and ten heifers to the department while the rest remain theirs to further build up a herd."
Applicants must have sufficient land to accommodate livestock numbers and applicants must be in possession of proof of ownership, lease-right or use-right of the land for the duration of the project.
Ms Mohlakoana said the livestock would have to be managed in a controlled environment and that daily supervision of livestock must be ensured.
Applicants are expected to be willing to participate in a selection process that will include the completion of an application forms obtainable from their local departmental offices, short listing, interviews and an on-site visit to verify information provided.
"The Nguni cattle are low maintenance because of their low cost input, high fertility rates and ability to withstand adverse conditions and tick-borne diseases."
This is the fourth time that the department is hosting the project; over 20 beneficiaries have received 20 bulls and 460 heifers.
Ms Mohlakoana said the department was impressed by the beneficiaries' level of commitment to the project.
"The majority of the beneficiaries have sold animals that are of high quality to various markets. To date most herds have been distributed with an average of eight calves at foot and the majority of heifers pregnant to calve at their new home."
The closing date for applications is on 30 June 2009.