Hundreds attend Emerging Farmers' Day to learn

THE Eastern Cape has a growing number of emerging livestock farmers who have the ambition of becoming commercial farmers and producers of meat for the export market.

This was revealed at Emerging Farmers' Day, an annual event held near Kei Mouth yesterday, aimed at equipping farmers with various skills.

Organised by Miles Dicke and his wife Danelda, who run Dicke Brahman Farming, the event was attended by hundreds of emerging farmers from across the province.

Most were from Willowmore, Whittlesea, Indwe, Queenstown, Lady Frere, Ngcobo, Butterworth, Berlin and Aliwal North.

Welcoming the farmers, Dicke said the aim of the event was to help the emerging farmers grow and become commercial farmers.

"They must grow from being subsistence farmers to commercial farmers. Today a number of representatives from different companies are here to teach these farmers what to do to become the best farmer they can be," he said.

The event, held at Idlewild Farm near Kei Mouth, saw emerging farmers brave the cold morning weather to attend a number of training sessions.

"They will learn about farming from birth to the selling of the cattle," Dicke said.

"This event gives them an opportunity to interact and get advice on which cattle or livestock to farm in which area, and the different times of the year.

"They will also learn how to prevent certain diseases – there's a lot they get from attending."

Auctioneer Tony Burger said farmers should always do their homework before an auction and know what they want.

John Khoza of MSD Animal Health talked about taking proper care of animals.

"Farmers must know animal health is [vital]. To grow your livestock one needs to have proper prescribed medicine for [the animal in question]," Khoza said.

Farmer Silas Hewana, of Berlin, said he had been a regular at the annual event, which was first held 11 years ago.

"I am learning new tricks every time I am here. This is a great event and many farmers are happy to attend," Hewana said.

Thobias Nojila, a farmer in the Kei Mouth area, said there was a lot they could learn. "Black farmers are getting this opportunity to grow in business.

"This is motivating and one can make money from using the skills and advice we get from here," Nojila said.

Dicke said his company had farms in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.

"As cattle and stock farmers, we are passionate about cows and about breeding better herds, in order to ensure economic viability within farming." - Bongani Fuzile