Dr Ivan Meyer visits grain farmers in the Swartland

Minister Meyer and Andries van der Poll.

The Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, and Executive Mayor of Swartland Municipality, Mr Tjimen van Essen, recently visited Swartland grain and livestock farmers, Alfreda Mars and Andries van der Poll.

Diversifying production for sustainability

Alfreda Mars farms sheep and grain on her farm Middelpos 946. According to Mars, the farm’s grain production has been doing well over the past two years. The drought, however, has impacted her yield.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture, along with Grain SA and the Red Meat Producers Organisation (RPO), supports her by providing funding, mentorship, training and market access support.

Her plans include expanding into intensive sheep farming, which will make her farm more sustainable.

“Grain is always a challenge in times of drought. My intention is therefore to grow the sheep farming side of my business and even venture into vegetable farming,” says Mars.

Alfreda Mars and minister Meyer.

Implementing intensive livestock production

Andries van der Poll farms 16km outside Riebeeck West on the farm Klipdrift. Voted Grain SA’s Best New Era Commercial Farmer in 2019, Van der Poll is well on his way to becoming a very successful commercial farmer.

His main product lines include livestock (sheep and cattle) and various grains – soon he will also venture into beekeeping.

Further funding was recently approved to fund his proposed diversification model aimed at intensive livestock production.

“I aim to diversify. My current yield is about 3,1t/ha for wheat and 13t/ha for maize on 20ha. I aim to achieve a 140% weaning percentage for my sheep as well as a fully expanded agri-tourism component,” says Van der Poll.

Listen to Minister Meyer’s commentary below:

Building a sustainable farming business requires hard work

Commenting on his visit to the two farmers Minister Meyer expressed his satisfaction with their progress to date.

According to Meyer, building a sustainable farming business requires hard work, passion, partnerships, skills, mentoring and a willingness to learn from colleagues and other farmers. “Today I saw these in action at both Middelpos and Klipdrift farms.

“I am pleased that what I saw was two good farming businesses. Both farmers are committed to growing their farms into sustainable enterprises. They are also determined to contribute to the food basket of the Swartland region.

“The Western Cape government will, through its partnerships with commodity organisations such as Grain SA and the RPO, continue to support these farmers. Success in agriculture always happens when people are in the business #ForTheLoveOfAgriculture. Today I witnessed this again,” concluded Meyer. – Press release, Western Cape Agriculture