This program earned a Gold award.
Land redistribution has been an issue in South Africa since the elections in 1994. In the past, black landowners were forced to give up their land for white people; and this is only beginning to be redressed now. However, the current problem is that, once the land has been given back, many black landowners have minimal large-scale farming experience, meaning the redistributed land is not always used to its full potential. In order to address this, Amadlelo Agri was developed in 2004 by 70 commercial farmers in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The aim was to access unutilized or under-utilised agricultural land, bring it to its full potential, and train locals in farm management skills. To this end, land was found in the Middeldrift community, which was owned by 65 families who had minimal access to farming skills or equipment. A dairy farm was established, with funding from the National Empowerment Fund and Amadlelo Agri (Amadlelo also donated 600 cows). The milk is collected and bought by Clover Dairy. The farm has only been in operation since October 2008, but it already showing good growth, both in terms of the number of people employed, and the amount of milk produced. The aim is to employ 30 local people full-time (and to train a black female to manage the farm), and produce 3.8m litres of milk per year. Students from Fort Hare University are also identified and trained in farm management, and they will help to manage to project in the future.
Innovation: This project attempts to redress some of the imbalances created by the land redistribution programme. Training local people in farm management, along with providing them with financial assistance for start-up, helps to make the farm more profitable and sustainable in the long-run; and empowers the local community to manage the farm into the future. It also ensures that more land is being utilized fully.
Effectiveness: Thus far, 16 permanent workers from the community are employed by the farm; and 1.2m litres of milk have been produced. A partnership has been developed with Clover, who buys all the milk. The farm is also already sustaining itself with the funds generated from the milk sales.
Poverty Impact: The project already employs 16 permanent workers from the community, with a further 14 to be trained and employed within three years. This makes a huge impact both on their lives, and the lives of their dependants. It also assists the entire community, by encouraging others to establish large-scale farming initiatives.
Sustainability: The farm will be able to produce more milk in the future, as the soil becomes better and the heifers grow (and are therefore able to produce more milk). Thus, the farm is already on its way to becoming self-sustainable. In terms of start-up, the National Empowerment Fund provided R9.92m; while Amadlelo provided 600 cows and R3.5m as cost over-runs. Amadlelo also provided technical assistance, and a salary for the initial farm manager.
Replication: The Middeldrift area was chosen because of its good soil and high rainfall. Thus, similar projects could be replicated in areas with similar climates, provided funding and training can be accessed. Other types of farms could also be developed in areas with different climates and rainfall patterns; again, training and funding would need to be accessed. If the farm can start running a profit soon, it would be able to pay back loans and cover start-up costs fairly quickly.