Empowering emerging farmers in the Western Cape, South Africa

Barloworld Agriculture, southern African distributor of Massey Ferguson, has continued its support of South Africa’s emerging farmers with the donation of an MF 290 tractor to the Omega Farming Trust near Wolseley in the Western Cape.

The Omega Trust, which has 65 beneficiaries, is using the 61 kW tractor to help revitalise their land and build a sustainable agricultural enterprise for themselves and their families into the future.

The 67-hectare Omega farm was given to the beneficiaries, many from distressed circumstances, in 2003 as part of the South African government’s land redistribution scheme. A lack of financial support and know-how saw the farm fell into disuse, with only a pear orchard surviving to provide a viable source of income but with no means of caring for the trees or bringing the product to the market.

As the only working tractor on the farm currently, the 61 kW 4WD MF 290 has been living up to its name as a reliable all-rounder. Its duties include land preparation, transport, raking, lifting bins and clearing old, non-viable vineyards on the farm. The immediate focus will be on cash crops that can be sold locally, and the first hectare of green beans under irrigation has already been planted.

The donation of the tractor forms part of comprehensive asssistance being provided to the Omega Trust by the Barloworld group of companies through Barloworld Siyakhula, a company established to foster broad-based black economic empowerment through enterprise development. Together with other partners, both private and governmental, Barloworld Siyakhula is providing the support required to secure a profitable and sustainable farming venture in the long term. In addition to financial assistance, this includes an agricultural mentor to oversee the project; the training of staff over a five-year period; support by soils, irrigation, financial and other experts; and assistance with establishing and maintaining infrastructure.