Joint indigenous veld goat agricultural development project starts

iNkosi Zwelothando Mabandla, the family farmer network the Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai) and AfriForum this week started a joint indigenous veld goat agricultural development project in the AmaBhele kaJamangile Kingdom near Maclear in the Eastern Cape. The collaborators agreed on the concept of establishing an indigenous veld goat stud that in the end will result in a viable agricultural business, the recovery of the initial investment cost and the provision of base herds for the establishment of further development projects in the province. This follows the exploratory visit of representatives of AfriForum and Saai to the region in June of this year that involved gathering information about local conditions and agricultural possibilities and consultations with various agricultural stakeholders.

“I am excited about the prospects of being part of this project that will result in the establishment of an indigenous veld goat stud. I am also glad that this project will bring training and skills transfer opportunities to the AmaBhele kaJamangile Traditional Community, because many community members are already engaged in goat farming. It is a privilege to collaborate on a project that will also provide base herds for future development projects in the area,” says iNkosi Zwelothando of the AmaBhele kaJamangile Traditional Community.

“This is a joint agricultural project with iNkosi Zwelothando as the land and project owner with Saai and AfriForum as supporting collaborators. The recognition and cooperation agreement finalised earlier this year between the office of iNkosi Zwelothando and AfriForum laid the foundation for this project as cooperation on agricultural development and the promotion of community self-sufficiency are some of the aims thereof. This is just another example of the progress that is possible when different cultural communities engage in good faith on the basis of mutual recognition and respect whilst keeping the prosperity of future generations front of mind,” says Barend Uys, Head of Intercultural Relations and Cooperation at AfriForum.

“Leon Lourens from Saai investigated various possible agricultural business opportunities based on the community, the market and local conditions. We decided to propose this indigenous veld goat stud project to iNkosi Zwelothando based on the facts that he has experience with life stock farming, that the other families farming with goats will also benefit from the training that are part of the project and that there is a healthy sales market for the goats. Saai, as family farmer network, is proud to support this project that will benefit the family farmers of the AmaBhele kaJamangile Traditional Community,” says Dr Theo de Jager, Executive Board Chairperson of Saai.

“This project is another building block in creating a self-sustainable community. Our Royal Family stands for reconciliation and to teach people that we can work with anyone sharing our values who can partner with us on our vision to be self-sufficient. Government cannot solve all the problems faced by communities and we want to teach traditional communities that it is possible to do things ourselves,” says iNkosazana Bhelekazi Mabandla, Head of Royal Diplomatic Services of the Jamangile kaMabandla Royal Family.

LGL Indigenous Veld Goat Skilder Stud, a network partner of Saai, is involved as indigenous veld goat specialist and iNkosi Zwelothando will also affiliate with the Indigenous Veld Goat Breeders Society of South Africa.