19 Jan 22 News Communities South Africa

Entrepreneur’s drive to grow local farming resilience gains new wheels

Saclova director Arenda Saal, left, and colleagues Alette Cloete and Susan Van Neel inspect the new truck supplied to their fodder business as part of Kangnas Wind Farm's agri-enterprise support programme

A small business owner is on the road to turning around the fortunes of a whole farming community – and reducing her neighbours' grocery bills – with the help of a local wind farm in South Africa’s Northern Cape.

Arenda Saal, who cultivates lucerne crops as fodder for other farms in the Nama Khoi area, has just taken delivery of an eight-tonne truck as part of a package designed to accelerate her business plans.

A laptop computer and other office equipment, as well as a range of supports in areas of finance, marketing, compliance and systems, were also provided by Kangnas Wind Farm under its agri-programme.

Delivery lorry will help build up fodder supplies in a region suffering from a protracted drought

Arenda told how the donations would enable her company, Saclova, to create new jobs, increase its agricultural output, and supply products that will allow local farmers to plant their own fodder crops.

Receiving the truck’s keys with team members Alette Cloete and Susan Van Neel, she said: “Our vision is to strive for success and to be able to plough back into our community, to serve them and make a difference in our farmers’ lives.

The company was one of several small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises in Nama Khoi that applied for the 12-month package of financial and non-financial supports, which are funded by Kangas Wind Farm and delivered in partnership with Radio NFM, the Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Step-Up Foundation.

Mainstream’s Economic Development Manager Cheryl Persensie explained the need for the local agri-campaign, saying: “Agriculture is a key sector of the Namaqualand economy, however, the protracted drought, coupled with the effects of COVID-19 has made it difficult for emerging farmers to expand their businesses.”

Vegetables from Rooipoort Saal Boerdery will feed Springbok households struggling with high food prices

The provision of essential equipment and help in areas such as book-keeping, business planning and market development is intended to put the selected farming enterprises on a sustainable commercial footing and ensures food security for local communities.

Another beneficiary, Rooipoort Saal Boerdery, was chosen for its plans to increase vegetable cultivation and supplies to residents in the area.

The programme was launched in June 2021 in response to a household affordability study that showed many Northern Cape households were struggling to cover the cost of a basket of basic foodstuffs.

Prices paid by residents of Springbok and its surrounds were found to be higher than those in urban centres such as Durban, Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg.

  • The 140 MW Kangnas Wind Farm was developed and constructed by Mainstream for our Africa Joint Venture, Lekela Power. Entering commercial operations in November 2020, its 61 turbines are now generating more than 513 GWh of clean energy a year, enough to meet the equivalent demand of 154,625 average-sized households, while annually saving 550,000 tonnes of fossil fuel plant CO2 emissions.