Jeffrey's Bay The 4th wonder of our world

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Tourism News
Mohair course graduates to run farm near Jansenville
17 September 2010

Team of five now 'fully equipped to run successful operations' in the Karoo

UTTKOMST, a 5500ha farm, has been officially handed over to the first graduates of a pioneering mohair training initiative by Prof Dan Sandi, regional senior manager of Eastern Cape Agriculture. Lying 33km north of Jansenville, the farm has been provided by the Rural Development and Land Affairs Department to provide an opportunity for graduates of the Hardwood Farm initiative to run their own farming operations. The five graduates, three men and two women, have successfully completed their three-year training course in all aspects of Angora goat farming at Hardwood Farm. The graduates -Sara Louw, Salomina Myburgh, Amen Sakata, Sidwell Lazola Paulse and Johannes Cronje - will soon move onto Uitkomst and begin farming Angora goats and Merino sheep under the guidance of a mentor for three years. On September 1, five new students began training at Hardwood Farm and will need to complete the three-year course before being moved to a commercial farm. The Hardwood Farm mohair training initiative is a collaboration between local authorities, the Ikwezi Municipality, the Agriculture Department and the mohair industry that is playing an instrumental role in developing and uplifting rural communities in the Eastern Cape, equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge to take part in one of South Africa's most successful industries. The training initiative came about after the late Malcolm Claasen, a member of Mohair SA, proposed the idea of implementing a black economic empowerment project within the mohair industry. After entering into discussions with the local council, about 1 900ha of land was made available for training. The Agriculture Department provided funds for infrastructure and supplies, which laid the foundation for the development of the project. The Mohair Trust, in partnership with Mohair SA, agreed to provide the bulk of the funding for the initiative. During the three-year training course, the students received no payment and had to continue with other work and family responsibilities. However, all the mohair and surplus stock was sold, with the full proceeds going into bank accounts which were opened on the students' behalf. According to Gielie Grobler, BEE projects coordinator for the SA Mohair Growers' Association, the five graduates are now fully equipped to run successful mohair fanning operations. "The graduates will be fully in charge of and responsible for the farming operations," he said.

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