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Newly-elected president of the SA Mohair Growers Association, Cobus de Klerk (right) and his adjudant, Mark Shires. Picture by Lourens Schoeman
SA MOHAIR GROWERS ASSOCIATION
ANNUAL CONGRESS
By Lourens Schoeman
Predators remain the biggest challenge facing the mohair industry, says the newly-elected president of the South African Mohair Growers Association (SAMGA), Cobus de Klerk.
In an interview shortly after his election, De Klerk said that not only do farmers lose millions of rand through predation every year, the government also loses millions through lost income from VAT and tax from producers.
He said in two operations in separate districts in the Eastern Cape recently a total of 396 jackal and lynx were killed. “This is unbelievable. If each of those predators caught only one goat per week the losses incurred by producers are at least R14-million, at an estimated average value of R700 per Angora goat.
“Apart from this the loss of meat to the food chain is more than 20,5 tons in these two districts alone, if each of these goats weighed a conservative 18kg. It is therefore important that the welcome R1-million donated to the industry by the Mohair Trust for research into ways and means to combat this scourge bring fruitful results soon,” said De Klerk.
Turning to production, De Klerk, who farms in the Cradock district and former vice-president of the organization, said he wanted to encourage producers to expand their herds and to buy good quality rams that are adapted to their regions and farming conditions in order to improve the quality of the hair.
He added that producers should endeavor to keep their herds as young as possible.
“Our producers should also, wherever possible take part in study groups to establish where they stand in their area and on national level. Every producer should strive to produce top quality mohair, to class it as well as possible and to prevent any pollution of the hair.
“The mohair industry supports Black Economic Empowerment and we encourage emerging farmers to farm with angoras because the government continues to stress the importance of sustainable farming enterprises,” he said.
De Klerk said a worrying factor, however, was the influence the recently announced minimum wage could have on the labour force of the mohair industry. “It already has a huge impact on production costs and chances are that farmers will be forced to consider laying off workers in the long run. This will be a sad day,” he added.
De Klerk was elected unanimously as president of SAMGA at the congress in place of Gerhard Grobler who had accepted a post as Farmer Development Officer in the Mohair Empowerment Trust. Mark Shires of Klipplaat/Jansenville replaced De Klerk as vice-president.


EERSTE STAP IN
MULTIMILJOEN RAND ETHANOL FABRIEK
CRADOCK
Die eerste stap in die oprigting van die multimiljoen rand etanol (voorheen suikerbeet) fabriek net buite die dorp, waarvan beloftes al vir meer as tien jaar kom, is nou geneem. ‘n Plaaslike konstruksiemaatskappy het begin met bou van in- en uitgange in die Marlow besproeiings-kanaal om die uiteindelike verlegging van hierdie kanaal moontlik te maak. Hierdie verlegging is nodig omdat die kanaal soos hy nou daar is, oor die perseel loop waar die beplande fabriek gebou gaan word.
Hierdie eerste fase van die projek word in die huidige sogenaamde “droë” seisoen gedoen, wanneer daar geen water in die Groot Visrivier is nie. Dit is noodsaaklik sodat daar in die toekoms geen onderbreking van watervoorsiening aan besproeiingsboere sal wees wanneer stap twee, verlegging van die kanaal self, uiteindelik plaasvind nie. Wanneer die nuwe duikpyp gebou word, sal hierdie in- en uitgange daarmee verbind word.
Volgens Andreas Engelbrecht, hoofuitvoerendebeampte van Groot Visrivier waterverbruikersvereniging, behels stap twee van die verlegging van die kanaal die oprigting van ‘n duikpyp van 1,1 km lank wèg van die perseel van die voorgestelde etanolverwerkingsfabriek af. Hy sê die projek, wat ongeveer 7 – 8 maande sal neem om te voltooi, is reeds deur die Marlow subarea (voorheen besproeiings-raad) goedgekeur. Die aanvangsdatum van hierdie tweede fase is nog nie deur ARDA (Agrarian Research & Development Company) aangekondig nie.
Engelbrecht het gesê die duikpyp se deursnee is 1,4 meter en dit is ontwerp om 7200 kub meter water per uur deur te laat. Hiermee sal ongeveer een uur vloeityd vanaf die Marlow keerwal tot by die kanaal se punt gewen word. Die duikpyp sal onder die Maraissloot en Swaershoekpad strek en uiteindelik water aan net oor die 1800 hektaar besproeiingsgrond onder die Marlow kanaal voorsien.
‘n Groot probleem wat vir die nuwe duikpyp voorsien word, is volgens Engelbrecht, die feit dat hierdie pyp se inlaat baie naby aan Cradock se munisipale stortingsterrein is. “Hierdie terrein is nie omhein nie en dit kan veroorsaak dat die pyp geblok word deur onder meer plastieksakke en ander rommel wat vanaf die stortingsterrein in die kanaal beland. Ons het die munisipaliteit herhaalde kere aangespreek oor die terrein wat nie omhein is nie, maar tot dusver was daar geen reaksie nie,” het hy gesê.
Alle kanale van die waterverbruikersvereniging word hierdie maand, in wat bekend staan as die droë seisoen wanneer geen water in die Groot Visrivier vrygelaat word nie, skoongemaak en nodige instandhoudingswerk gedoen.

SHALE GAS FRACKING IN THE KAROO
By Lourens Schoeman
Agri Eastern Cape has threatened with court action should the government attempt to speed up the process for possible shale gas fracking in the Eastern Cape.
This warning by Agri Eastern Cape president Ernest Pringle comes in the wake of a statement by Deputy President Kgalema Mothlanthe at the National Green Economy Youth Summit in Cape Town on Monday that the exploration of shale gas in the Karoo should be accelerated, because of the potential for positive economic spin-offs.
Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) chairman, Jonathan Deal, said in his reaction that in the face of very recent international developments connected to shale gas mining it is unthinkable that a senior government leader in South Africa should make such an ill-considered statement.
Pringle said Agri Eastern Cape fully endorsed Deal’s comment. “To talk about accelerating a process without addressing any of the concerns which we have spelt out in our document titled Prerequisites for Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eastern Cape is highly irresponsible.
“Any attempt to do so will be met with court action,” he warned. Deal said there are significant, credible concerns about shale gas mining that remain unresolved in South Africa. The task team report that formed the basis of the decision to lift the moratorium in September, lacked input from key ministries that would directly be affected by shale gas extraction, including the Departments of Agriculture, Tourism, Rural Development and Land Reform, Transport and many others. “No public consultation has taken place on the matter, despite promises made by the Minister of Mineral Resources. The timeline involved to bring the controversial and risky technology of hydraulic fracturing to production in SA is well in excess of ten years. “We are well aware of the plans of the government to alter legislation to centralise and fast-track environmental impact assessments under the department of Minerals. This is such a blatant conflict of interest that it defies belief,” according to Deal. Shale gas extraction, said Deal, is a complex and broad subject. Many unknowns, uncertainties and significant public concerns point to a need for robust research before reaching a conclusion in favour of shale gas. “If this goes down to the wire, it will ultimately end up in the Constitutional Court, concluded TKAG.”

 

LEES BINNE/READ INSIDE

  • Cradock SPCA to close in August
  • Ikwezi Municipality unable to pay salaries for this month
  • Social Grant expenditure in 2013 equals total Tax Revenue in 1994
  • Baie ou boom, grootste van sy soort in die land – Cradock
  • Bekende Bergman egpaar groet Cradock
  • Traut moord – derde verdagte vas





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