The Qhumanco Woolgrowers’ Association in the Ngcobo district in South Africa’s Eastern Cape have taken control of their fate and built their own shearing shed.
“We saw that wool has high value and we can uplift the community through wool production. That is why we decided to built the shearing shed,” said the chairperson of the association, Sicelo Njambatwa. The association consisted of 17 farmers, farming on communal land.
Njambatwa said the farmers got together in March and decided to build their own shed, after government took too long to help them do it.
They got a quote from local builders in Ngcobo and each farmer had to contribute R4100, which was a considerable amount of money for many of the farmers, some of whom were pensioners.
The local chief, Sandile Harrington Mgundlwa from the Amajaba Madiba Dlumo clan, under King Dalenjebo, also a wool farmer, said it was important that the community did well. That’s why he encouraged them to build their own shed. He also helped the farmers with financing.
The structure had already been built and farmers will shear their first clip in the shed when the season started in September.
Farmers in communal areas mostly relied on local municipalities, with help from the National Wool Growers Association, to build and provide woolsheds to communal farmers where they could shear their sheep and sort wool for the market.
The farmers from the Qhumanco Woolgrowers’ Association previously had to travel to other sheds to shear their sheep. According to Njambatwa, the shed still needed equipment like presses and sorting tables.
They also had to rent equipment from another shed to process wool for the commercial market.
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