Original Articles

Challenges for emerging livestock farmers in Limpopo province, South Africa


Abstract

Land redistribution schemes (e.g. Settlement Land Acquisition Grant and Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development) initiated since the mid-1990s in Limpopo province under national land reform programs have sought to introduce a new generation of previously disadvantaged people to commercial livestock production. However, the beneficiaries of these redistribution schemes known as 'emerging farmers', many of whom generally possess limited technical and financial skills or knowledge of commercial farming practices, face serious challenges in their journey to commercial status. Problems facing the emerging farmers include lack of secure title to the land, lack of investment and working capital and limited access to credit, poor veld condition, highly variable climate, insufficient farm size, inadequate or damaged infrastructure, poor access to extension officers who, in turn, are often overcommitted and under-resourced, poor knowledge of pasture and animal management, and a highly competitive industry context. Many of these problems can be resolved only by government, but problems of pasture, animal, financial and property management can be addressed by training and support. This paper outlines the experiences to date of a project that is seeking to provide technical information and support to emerging livestock farmers in four communities in Limpopo province.

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