CAPE TOWN - Nedbank, in partnership with WWF are assisting cattle farmers in Mzongwana in the Eastern Cape to grow healthy cattle whilst also sustaining the environment. The farmers, on November 29 then auctioned hundreds of cattle to local commercial farmers.
The WWF Nedbank Green Trust initiative celebrates its 27th anniversary this year, since its inception in 1990. It has funded more than 200 conservation projects, in a bid to promote sustainability and conserve natural resources.
"Nedbank brings together so many projects which not only focus on the environment but also tackles a multitude of issues such as job creation", said Nedbank Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Kerri Savin.
Nedbank, the WWF, and Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS) have joined forces to teach farmers in
Mzongwana how to better use the land for sustainability and to get more bang for their buck.
The three partners have also come together to develop a cattle auction for farmers in the area and buyers from access the Eastern Cape and Kwa Zulu Natal.
ERS, and the WFF saw that farmers were not utilising the land effectively, consequently the Mzongwana area has a massive soil erosion issue, water scarcity is now hitting the area and cattle growth has dropped drastically.
ERS are trying to tech the farmers that by taking care of the soil and ensuring the water catchment areas are safe, farmers can graze their cattle more efficiently and that in return will create a better quality of cattle.
Cattle that are better fed will fetch a higher price at auction and this in return will mean a better life for the Mzongwana farmer.
ERS also recognised that the
Mzongwana area needed an auction site that would allow farmers to show case their cattle without having to travel long distances.
It was the hope that the cattle auction will not only be bridge for farmers and buyers but it would create jobs for local job seekers.
This years auction was the fourth of its kind to take place in the Eastern Cape village.
"This is a really great initiative. It’s good for the people and I feel very excited. This project is assisting the community very well because they all dependent on this cattle. We facing great unemployment but because of this cattle, they can provide for their families now", said Ward Councillor of the Eastern Cape, Cyprian Sithole.
"Even people outside from Mzongwana can participate like from Matatiele", added Cyprian.
More than 20 rural farmers brought their cattle to the auction.
One rural farmer said he expected between R3 000 or R4 000 for his cattle which later fetched for an impressive R6000.
The Veld Management Committee, Chithindlala Mzongwana decide collectively on what the farmers should do. Farmers have also played a role in forming the committee.
"The cattle are expensive but it is fair. You can see that the cattle are improving because they are grazing properly", said one of the commercial farmers, Robert Rawlins.
Rawlins said that he had purchased approximately R300 000 worth of cattle at the auction.
He added that he was prepared to spend R500 000 at the auction and that is testament to the quality of the cattle thanks to the new grazing techniques.
Likewise, commercial farmer Gerrie Nel from Cedarville farm has been attending the auction for the past 3 years.
Nel, who runs his own farm also supplies meat to large retailers such as Pick n Pay.
"We bring the sale to the people", said Nel proudly. He further stated that the cattle he purchased at the auction were premium and not feed lot.
In essence, Nel pays for good quality and natural beef and this can only happen if farmers utilise proper grazing methods.
It is the hope that other farmers not only in the area but throughout South Africa will see the results in
Mzongwana follow ERS's grazing methods.