Farmer bitter about non-help

Emerging farmer Mbeko Silele from Mfuleni is appealing to the City of Cape Town to provide young farmers with land to keep their livestock.

He said farmers in the area, called Burundi, are struggling with farming services from the City because they are occupying land in a nature reserve.

Silele (49), owns about 130 pigs, 32 cows, 56 goats, 38 sheep and 80 chickens.

He said he started farming in 2005 after a long stretch of unemployment.

“I started farming with cattle because I saw a market for selling milk in the community­.

“Then in 2007 I added pigs, followed by goats and sheep, which are in demand,” he said, adding that chicken farming is for the supply of eggs to his family, but also derives a living from it.

His cattle is kept in Grabouw due to lack of space in Mfuleni.

“Because we don’t own the land, we cannot build permanent structures for our livestock. We need bore-holes.

“Even the department of agriculture has stopped providing us with the veterinarians, since we don’t have a lease agreement with the land owners.

“We don’t get any assistance from the City. We have to dig from our own pockets,” he added.

Stock theft, he said, was a big headache, for farmers like him.

“Before, I had 48 head of cattle, but these were whittled down to 25 after theft.

“We have to buy feed for the pigs or collect waste from nearby bakeries to feed them. Even with the bakeries, we are regarded last, as the first option is the commercial farmers, leaving us the remnants,” he complained.

He said most of their live stock is sold in the community for rituals, traditions and cultural festivities. Silele said his day starts at 05:00.