Eastern Cape wool farmers received some much-needed shearing equipment from Bayer South Africa as part of an initiative to support communal wool farmers in the region.
“Having the correct equipment is central to bolster efficiency and production volumes for these farming communities that are already pooling their resources together,” Bayer SA said in a press release.
This initiative is part of an agreement with the Eastern Cape government and Bayer has committed to maintain four shearing sheds and will also provide essential equipment to help ensure the farmers have access to essential tools.
About 250 farmers for the Qeqe Wool Growers Association, Sizini Wool Growers Association, Machama Wool Growers Association and the Mqwashini Wool Growers Association will benefit from the support provided from Bayer, and according to the company they are planning to extend their support to more Eastern Cape farming communities in the future.
“We are hoping that this support, in the form of services and maintenance in these operations, as well as our investment in the form of critical tools-of-the-trade will advance these emerging farmers by ensuring that they remain active participants in the local economy,” said dr. György Polgár, Head of Bayer’s Animal Health commercial operation in Southern Africa. “Most importantly, the sustaining of their operations guarantees much needed employment and the promotion of entrepreneurship.”
During the recent Eastern Cape Communal Wool Growers Association’s annual congress, the expansion of shearing sheds was identified as a priority issue, as well as the implementation of camp systems and fences.
Profile of Eastern Cape emerging wool farmers*
• There are currently 1 195 active shearing sheds in the region.
• There are about 30 to 40 households per shearing shed dependent on the wool income. The average income per household is R8 200 per family.
• The average income from wool per shearing shed is about R250 947 per annum.
• However, this amount may differ significantly between shearing sheds due to the difference in wool quality and involvement and active commitment of the community.
• The region produced about 5.81 million kg of wool during the 2016/’17 season, worth R299,8 million in total.
* Information supplied by Theuns Botha