Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Municipality Facilitates Angora Goat Project

-Linda Jaquet-

April 1st, 2008, was a memorable day for four, new Prince Albert Angora goat farmers. And not because an April Fool’s Day joke was played on them.

On the contrary, with the arrival of 180 Angora goats – 174 ewes and 6 rams – from Aberdeen, it marked their first day of a project, during which they will be “students” learning on the job, all that they need to know about working with Angora goats.
The project (sponsored by Mohair South Africa) is an initiative of the Mohair industry through the Prince Albert Municipality. Treintjiesrivier, the farm on the outskirts of town, was bought by the Department of Land Affairs for the Municipality about two years ago with the purpose of developing and empowering emerging small farmers.

Jan Lottering, Piet Loff, Andrew Mopiley and Adriaan Moos, all have some experience of farming and were carefully selected to be part of the project. Gielie Grobbelaar, former Chair of Mohair SA and the International Mohair Association, is responsible for the co-ordination and supervision of the project. He, through SA Mohair International Ltd (SAMIL), have initiated and conducted similar projects in the Eastern Cape.

Clive van Hasselt, one of South Africa’s most successful Angora breeders, will engage and assist wherever necessary. The student farmers will not be paid for the duration of the project and have made arrangements with their current employers to take time off each month to work at Treintjiesrivier. At the end of the two year period, they will have an option to farm on their own. The original stock and numbers will remain that of the project, while the mohair and the progeny will be for the student farmers’ account.

Interviewed by the Friend on 2 April as they dipped and dosed their new herd of young goats, the farmers’ pride and determination to succeed was evident.

Jan Lottering, who chairs the project, said that giving up part of his salary every month to be part of this project was well worth it. “It’s an opportunity that we’ve all grabbed with both hands,” he said.

Piet Loff added: “We all have the self-belief and resolve to go a long way. Getting on with the work is up to us.” Clive van Hasselt has confidence in the project and the four aspiring Angora goat farmers. “I feel that the opportunity, both in this project and in the Mohair industry, is very worthwhile and rewarding,” he said.

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