Emerging farmers learn business skills
BSSA is increasingly being approached by groups of emerging farmers to offer basic business skills training. One of the farmer groups assisted recently is the Masakona Community Primary Cooperative (MCAPC), which produces vegetables on a communal farm near Masakona village to the east of Makhado in Limpopo.
The MCAPC consists of 10 farmers who, assisted by 60 community members, grow cabbage, tomatoes, butternuts, sweet potatoes and green mealies, which they sell at the farm gate to the local community. The emerging farmers and the community members are all employed by Government's Expanded Public Works Programme.
The farmers grow their produce on around 3ha of their 100ha farm, of which 70ha is arable. They have two boreholes on the land, of which one is used to irrigate their crops. The irrigated area is served by moveable drip lines fed under gravity from storage tanks supplied by the Limpopo Economic Development Programme in Thohoyandou.
The group also has a tractor, plough, planter and trailer, as well as implements and irrigation equipment donated by the Limpopo Department of Agriculture.
To provide the basic business skills training to the emerging farmers, BSSA acquired funding from a private donor. A consultant was also appointed to assist the group with technical advice to increase their crop yield in order to raise their income from the farm. They were also advised on suitable crops for the area and how to access the contract market.