The Stellenbosch Municipality took a piece of unused municipal land and handed it over to five emerging farmers.
Stellenbosch, South Africa – Last week, the Stellenbosch Municipality empowered five emerging farmers to start farming on municipal, agricultural land. The land was previously underutilised and will now be turned into productive farmland that will create opportunities and jobs.
Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer and Mayco member for Rural Management and Tourism, Councillor Salie Peters, handed over the first five contracts to farmers last week. The contracts range between 9 – 11 year leases with the option to renew should the land be used productively. The total size of the municipal, agricultural land being leased to the five farmers is approximately 120 hectares.
“Our goal is to enable emerging farmers to access municipal agricultural land and to ensure the optimal use of every patch of available agricultural land within the Stellenbosch municipal area,” said Mayor van Deventer.
The Mayor went on to say that: “The Municipality has a strategic objective to create an environment conducive to business development and job creation. The handing over of the first five contracts to farmers shows our administration’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for farming enterprises, especially for those emerging farmers who have historically been excluded from economic opportunities.”
The successful applicants were selected following a detailed evaluation process during which experience in farming/agriculture, a business plan and the financial readiness of all applicants were evaluated. During the Council Meeting of 14 August 2019, the names of the first five successful farmers were announced to the council:
- Jeremy van Niekerk
- Elsenburg Khoisan
- Bradley Cortereal
- Hylton Arendse
- Christie Jacobs
The Municipality will ensure that the necessary infrastructure such as electricity supply and water are in place for these emerging farmers. We will also play a facilitating role between the farmers and stakeholders such as the Department of Agriculture and Agricultural groups. The next step in the process will be the advertising of another five pieces of municipal, agricultural land, and we encourage interested parties to apply.
The Stellenbosch Municipal Council adopted the Policy on the Management of Municipal Agricultural land in 2016.
“This policy allows us to effectively manage how municipal agricultural land is put to use and enables us to lease previously unutilised agricultural land to especially up and coming and or previously disadvantaged farmers – creating jobs, creating opportunities and boosting our already thriving local agricultural sector.
As a caring and responsible government, Stellenbosch Municipality continually pioneers practices that promote economic growth and empowerment. With the handing over of contracts for the leasing of municipal, agricultural land to five emerging local farmers, we have once again shown that local governments have a key role to play in creating opportunities for residents.”
This new programme will help South Africa on its way to a more secure food future. Hopefully, these farmers will have a great success in growing viable crops and creating much-needed jobs.