Most Sought After Skills
January 17, 2012 by staff
Most Sought After Skills, The know-how and experience of South African farmers is becoming an important and sought after commodity in itself. Increasingly these farmers are being approached by foreign governments wishing to tap into their agricultural skills and years of experience.
Farmer Piet Kemp preparing the soil for grain on his new farm near Tbilisi. Kemp farms jointly with a partner. (Image: Bennie van Zyl, Tau SA)
The latest exchange has seen five farmers moving to Georgia in Eastern Europe over the course of 2011, while almost 800 South African farmers have already moved or extended their farms into Mozambique.
Further afield, the governments of Congo-Brazzaville and Zambia have also started making overtures to both South African and Zimbabwean farmers, as these countries have plans to get grand scale food production off the ground.
The impoverished former Soviet state entered into an agreement with South Africa in 2010, and hopes to see many more South African farmers settling there in the near future.
The exchange has taken place at the initial invitation of the Georgian government through its Minister of Diaspora, Papuna Davitaia,with the collaboration of the Transvaal Agricultural Union South Africa (Tau SA).
Georgia plans to bring its agricultural sector back up to global commercial standards after years of communist rule.
The country has one of the oldest winemaking histories in the world but has been struggling for the last 21 years, since becoming independent, to lift its agricultural sector from the current subsistence farming to commercial farming levels. The main export products are wine and hazelnuts.
The South African farmers will bring their years of experience in cattle farming and the growing of cereal crops on large tracts of land to Georgia.
“The state owns agricultural land in each of the 10 provinces and wishes to sell such land to commercial farmers,” confirms Tau SA’s GM, Bennie van Zyl. He said about 80 000 hectares of state property is available, not all of it suitable for farming, but that private farms are also readily available.
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