An independent evaluation has found that 72% of land reform projects in the Western Cape, over the last 5 years, have been a success.
The MEC of Economic Opportunities Beverley Schäfer last week released the results of the study, which rated the projects on 39 indicators in environmental, socio-economic and economic categories. What makes it even more impressive is that this represents a 10 percentage point improvement on results achieved in a study undertaken to determine the success of projects during the previous 5 years, between 2009 and 2013.
The Western Cape department of Agriculture provides support to land reform projects through commodity approach where the support of 11 commodity groupings representing farming from horticulture to livestock, is leveraged to provide funding, market access and technical support.
Through this programme, and coupled with the additional project implementation support provided by the provincial agency Casidra, the province has been able to provide mentorship, training, market access contracts as well as access to grant funding, equipment and infrastructure.
The Western Cape is also the only province to have conducted an independent evaluation of the projects it supports and Schäfer says the results from the latest study indicate that the support package offered to farmers is creating a real impact in terms of business growth and their quality of life.
The results speak for themselves.
Byron Booysen, a hydroponic farmer, farming tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes received infrastructure support from the department.
“I could approach government and I could discuss with them what my goals and needs were over the next five years and with the support we’ve gotten from them, we have reached some of those goals,” he said.
Justice Mxokezeli, a mixed farmer from Bredasdorp said the department’s help in buying livestock was a key point in the development of his business.
“I’m looking to become a big guy. I want to be competitive locally and internationally through exports,” he said of his future plans.
Achmat and Wadea Brinkhuis started their farm Chamomile in the Philippi horticultural area 12 years ago.
“When the department first came here, me and Wadea bought five chickens and now we’re up to 13 000,” he said.
Schäfer says the department set themselves the goal of achieving a 70% success rate for land reform, and they have more than achieved this.
“These results show that the Western Cape’s commodity approach to land reform is creating successful businesses and farmers.”