Smallholder farmers in Lady Frere say they are waiting for the rain so they can get busy sowing in anticipation of what will be a great harvest.
The farmers of the Zingxondo co-operative recently received a R500 000 tractor from the Eastern Cape Development Corporation through the Imvaba Cooperation Fund.
Zingxondo cooperative chairman Velani Jack said they were elated at the arrival of the tractor which was first applied for in 2017.
“Members who had pulled out of the co-operative are now excited and are returning. We are happy beyond words because we now have everything we need to make the cooperative a success,” said Jack.
Earlier this year members of the cooperative received training from the department of agriculture and rural development. Last year it also received 6km of fencing, also sponsored by the department.
“The support we received from the department has been immense. In 2017 we were supported with a combine harvester while in 2018 we received input like seeds and fertiliser,” added Jack.
Eastern Cape Development Corporation Imvamba fund specialist, Simphiwe Ntshweni, said they were happy that the cooperative would be able to reach its full potential.
“By the time the tractor arrived, they had everything else they needed. They only struggled with mechanisation. Last year they only used 84 of the 120 hectares available. The tractor will save them money because in the past they have had to take out loans,” said Ntshweni.