1997, Maria Mehlape convinced her neighbours to
start a new life
on a farm. Thanks to the Land Redistribution Program, a group of
landless people from Makgofe village outside Polokwane became new
owners of a150ha farm.
Makgofe Trust Farm started with more than 37 members but because of
challenges related to becoming a farm owner the number decreased to a
13 in 2002. Today six people proudly identify themselves farmers.
various training programs - some afforded by the School of Agricultural
and Environmental Sciences of the University of Limpopo - they decided
to embark on vegetable and
Since they were introduced to the
CRCE, it adviced them on various
activities on the farm, including indigenous chickens raising,
of indigenous chickens
With an initial donation from the Department of Health and Welfare,
farmers were able to raise broilers
The broilers were in the later years seen as a main
pillar of the farm’s income: after one batch was swept
diseases the farm struggled to find its foothold again. As such
require intensive care and expensive inputs to produce while they are
sensitive to diseases, the CRCE discussed with Makgofe Trust farmers on
the possibility of introducing Venda and Naked-neck chickens.
known to be chickens with low demand of feeding, medication and require
low cost housing. The introduction of these chickens was not aimed to
move away from broiler production but to bring in an affordable and
sustainable method of production.
normally scavenge for
food, they sleep on trees and need aloe plants extract mixed with other
plants we have on the farm for medication”,
and regional networking
Vegetables for local
farmers at Makgofe Trust produce vegetables
carrots, spinach, but they confessed to excel in garlic and butternut.
Butternut is planted to coincide with
festive season when the demand is high.
Because farmers sell mainly informally on local market, through
speculator, they don’t have to produce a constant quantity
all along the year. They take advantage of this to match the demand.
Makgofe Trust farm together with other farmers operating in the
Mole-mole district organized themselves and formed a Mole-mole farmers
cooperative. The aim of the cooperative is to exchange information with
Through CRCE support, Makgofe Trust is also a member of
the Small Scale
Networking Forum which is an affiliate of East and Southern African
Farmer’s Forum (ESAFF).