FORT HARE DAIRY TRUST
This was the first project started in 2007 to set up a modern 900 cow commercial dairy operation together with the University of Fort Hare. Production started in October 2007 and is economically viable.
The town of Alice is best known as the host of the University of Fort Hare. However, Alice is also the centre of fertile dairy-cattle country. An innovative scheme is running on a farm outside the town, whereby a group of successful commercial farmers are mentoring black farm workers to become successful farm managers and owners. The rationale behind the programme is that, for land reform to be successful, black people have to be equipped with the skills to manage farms.
Together with the University of Fort Hare, the project brought a successful mix of academic and commercial expertise, insuring proper and sustainable transfer of knowledge and skills. The completed project cost R 21m. The first student graduates from this process, have already moved on to start other projects in the region as junior managers.
There are 900 cows on a 200 hectare farm which produces 10 000 litres of milk per day, all of which is bought by Coega Dairy. Some of the maize to feed the cattle is sourced from farms in the Amatole district.
The Fort Hare Dairy Trust provides research opportunities for students from the University of Fort Hare and is a training centre for young agricultural graduates. Managers are assisted with buying their own cattle, and in this way they can start to build up their own herd of dairy-producing cattle.