The Falakahla community in Idutywa district will play host to the 6th East Cape Communal Woolgrowers Association Congress (ECCWGA) to be held on August 24.
Issues of land, value adding, infrastructure, ram breeding and genetics and stock theft are concurrent challenges that communal farmers are faced with.
The congress will request a progress report from Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) concerning the process of land distribution to specifically wool farmers and lay a request to receive a minimum of 5 farms (5 000ha) per annum per region. Considering that 90% of the SA clip is exported as a raw product, and wool processing is seen to result in youth skills empowerment, entrepreneurship and local job creation, congress will request that a local processing plant be erected in one of the regions. Infrastructure will always remain a challenge as the continuation and expansion for shearing shed equipment, building of new and renovating of dilapidated shearing sheds remain a priority for communal farmers.
The genetic potential of sheep with regards to reproduction, growth and quality as well as quantity of wool is viewed as an essential element towards increased production of woolled sheep. Congress acknowledge and appreciate progress made on the ram exchange programme, however, the ram to ewe ratio is still too low. Congress request that this programme be elevated to increase the number of rams and that additional farms be dedicated and owned by communal farmers to breed quality rams for the programme.
Stock and wool theft is moving at an alarming rate and the State will be requested to put mechanisms in place to curb the destruction.