Prior to the 1994 elections in South Africa, black-owned or occupied land was often forcibly taken and given to white farmers. This is now being addressed by the current government through its land redistribution programme, but it is facing many problems. Land has been returned to families with little or no experience in farming, meaning farms fall into dis-use or production drops, while skilled white farmers have no land. In order to try to address this, Amadlelo was established in 2004 by 70 commercial dairy farmers in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.The aim was to take under- or un-unutilised land and develop it to its full potential, train local community members in farming and management, and address some of the issues currently facing the dairy industry in South Africa.Ideally Amadlelo would like to contribute the livestock and loose assets in a 50/50 sharemilk, as a 10% share of the farming profits is not considered a good return on the amount of time and money spent managing the farms. To date Amadlelo has not had the funding to purchase the required livestock and assets (R12 million for a 1000 cow unit) to be the 50/50 sharemilker and have got commercial farmers involved to fund the livestock and assets or leased the livestock from commercial farmers.Amadlelo Agri is a partnership between Vuwa Investments (an empowerment company, which has a 35% stake in the company), the farmers (who have kept 49%) and the rest of the company was shared between 400 workers from the 50 dairy farms.
The expansion required market access and this was achieved by substituting this milk for milk being imported from South America through the creation of Coega Dairies, a state of the art UHT processing facility in the IDZ in Port Elizabeth.In addition, an innovative partnership with Famous Brands provided additional offtake for processed cheese products.
The projects aim to achieve two goals;1. Develop under- or unutilized redistributed farmland to its full potential and2. Ensure skills development and capacity-building to allow local community members to manage their own farmland.This helps to make the government land redistribution programme more successful. Assists in the agricultural production capacity of the country and creates employment opportunities for numerous community members. In addition the projects provide an opportunity for diploma graduates to gain experience as part of their diploma courses.The land and fixed infrastructure made available by the community is developed completely out of government funding.
The Fort Hare Dairy Trust started production in 2007 and as with all the other dairy projects, they are economically viable. The first student graduates have already moved on to new projects as junior managers. The senior manager at Middledrift is a graduate of the Amadlelo training process and is testimony to hard work, grit and determination as the prerequisites of becoming a highly successful dairy manager.Partnerships:* University of Fort Hare* Department of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform* Department of Rural Development and Land Reform* Kula Development Facilitators* TGK FarmingThe relationship between the various entities representing the communities, commercial farmers and Amadlelo are represented in an organizational structure in Annexure A.
As mentioned above Amadlelo would like to become the sole sharemilker with the community in order to improve the returns from each project and to build our balance sheet. As shown in Annexure A, Amadlelo currently owns 100% of Keiskamma and Shiloh Livestock but these entities don’t own any stock as the livestock is leased from commercial farmers. Over the next few years Amadlelo would like to buy out these leases.