Boost for sheep farmers with opening of R1.3m shearing shed
The Eastern Cape government has invested R1.3m in a shearing shed in Mnquma local municipality’s Bongweni Village.
The department of rural development and agrarian reform said the investment would enable the farmers who are members of the Bongweni Woolgrowers Association, to enter the wool market and trade commercially, competing with other sheep farmers.
Rural development and agrarian reform MEC Nonkqubela Pieters said the department had invested immensely in the area and urged farmers to treat the capital investment as start-up capital.
“Through the department’s livestock improvement programme, you’ve been assisted with rams of superior genetics to improve the quality of your flock and ultimately its wool.
“Further to this, we continue to invest heavily on infrastructure development.
“The shearing shed we are handing over today bears testimony to that.
“The ball is now in your court.
“We have given you the foundation already.
“To help sustain this business, it is important to invest back in its operations by buying the latest wool harvesting equipment, invest in security systems and the welfare of your flock,” Pieters said.
The R1.3m investment forms part of commitments Pieters made during the 2022/2023 financial year.
Her department had allocated R22m for the construction of shearing sheds in various districts.
The department gave the Bongweni Woolgrowers Association 10 Dohne Merino rams in 2016.
In 2019, they were given another 10 Merino rams and 15 in 2022.
During the 2022/2023 shearing season, the association grossed an income of R648,000 after producing 48 bales of wool.
Bongweni Woolgrowers Association chair Mzimasi Gazi said previously, they used rondavels to shear sheep, which was extremely challenging.
“Now have our own shed which has a presser, sorter and everything that is needed for shearing.
“The equipment will help us immensely because we will no longer hire a presser from other shearing sheds,” Gazi said.
Nosdima Mabokela, one of the elderly members of the association, said her life had improved after she joined the Wool Growers Association.
“Out of my income, I was able to do great things.”
NoLast Mbingeleli who is also a member, joined in 2016 when she only owned 50 sheep.
She now has 130 sheep and attributes this growth to having joined the association.
Mncekeleli Mcetywa, of Lahlangubo Village, said before they got the shed he had to hire shearers to go to his house, hire the sorting table and hire a vehicle to take the wool to Bongweni for pressing.
“It would get dirty along the way and some [of the wool] would fall off the vehicle,” he said.
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