WC Dept of Agriculture’s R53m support enables viability of Ebenhaezer land reform farming

26 Oct 2022 in Where We Govern

In a reply to a DA parliamentary question, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture revealed that it had contributed more than R53 million to the Ebenhaezer Irrigation Revitalisation Project.

This project gave 153 farmers access to water for their farms, through the replacement of a broken canal system with a piped water system. This system delivers water directly to farmers at three bar pressure, allowing all land reform farmers access to water and making irrigation on these farms much easier.

Land reform projects are a national embarrassment in the rest of the country, often seeing huge overspending for little to no return. The Ebenhaezer irrigation and related projects were however completed at almost R14 million under the initial R92.5 million budget, due to strict oversight by the Provincial Department of Agriculture.

Before the project, many individual farmers could not take full advantage of their water and user rights because of the lack of irrigation infrastructure. This project has enabled them to generate income from their assets, some generating income by farming themselves, and others from renting out their land to other farmers.

The Department also provided other support, including:

  • Soil preparation.
  • Providing on-farm irrigation infrastructure.
  • Supporting individual farmers to establish long-term, vegetable and vegetable seed crops.
  • Supporting 80 farmers to establish lucern as an entry point farming activity.
  • Providing a phased-down water subsidy to the farmers over the first five years.

MPP Andricus van der Westhuizen said: “Across the country, land reform beneficiaries are so often left to fend for themselves with few resources. Where the DA governs, however, the government is taking.

By making sure that our land reform projects have the necessary support, the Western Cape Government is once again showing that it cares about ensuring justice, and that beneficiaries are put in the best possible position to succeed.” every step to ensure the commercial viability of these land reform projects.