The Impact Catalyst and SerDev announced the implementation of a livestock project in the JTG District, Kuruman, Northern Cape

The Impact Catalyst and SerDev announced the implementation of a livestock project in the JTG District, Kuruman, Northern Cape

The much-anticipated sustainable livestock development project commenced in the John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) District Municipality on October 1, 2023. This project was realised thanks to substantial funding from the Impact Catalyst’s mining partners in the region. SerDev, a project implementation and transformation company belonging to the Sernick Group, are the implementation agents.

In December 2021, the farming community from the JTG region visited the Sernick value chain in Kroonstad and Edenville, located in the Free State, to directly observe the workings of a similar livestock development programme. Early in January 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with SerDev, and shortly thereafter, the Impact Catalyst became a partner in the initiative.

“Unlocking the value of underutilised assets in support of socio-economic development is a cornerstone of our agricultural development strategy. Communities and emerging farmers own ±40% of the total South African cattle herd, yet they only manage to commercially participate in 20% of the red meat value chain. This anomaly presents an opportunity for development, and we needed the financial support of our mining partners to, over time, facilitate the process of assisting emerging cattle farmers in the region to fully and fairly participate in the value chain,” said Impact Catalyst Agricultural Specialist, Jan Alberts. 

The project began with a baseline study in 2022 by the University of the Free State, focusing on the commercial red meat value chain in the JTG area. Equipped with these insights, SerDev is set to track progress over the coming five to seven years. Additionally, early findings from an independent socio-economic survey suggest that the programme will significantly boost the local red meat value chain in the JTG region. This enhancement will be achieved through advanced genetics and modernised farming methods. Such improvements are expected to create a beneficial ripple effect across the Northern Cape and potentially throughout South Africa.

“It is most heartwarming and encouraging to see the high level of commitment and drive being displayed by members of the JTG community. Their attitude speaks directly to the objectives of SerDev and the outcomes that are envisaged in this project,” said Jerome Topley, the newly appointed Managing Director of SerDev.

As an organisation that initiates and implements scaled socio-economic development projects in rural communities, the Impact Catalyst in collaboration with Anglo American (Kumba Iron Ore), Kudumane Manganese Resources, Assmang, and South32, are working together to support the implementation of the JTG livestock project. “After the idea was born to assist livestock farmers, it took 18 months to plan and find the necessary funding for the regional livestock project. The farmers are so relieved that at last the programme is now a reality, and we cannot wait to see all livestock farmers participating,” said Mr James Choche, Chairperson of the JTG Agricultural Forum, the umbrella body of all the co-ops in the area. 

The project’s office is situated in the Seokama area, adjacent to the veterinary services, and will be permanently staffed by SerDev’s monitoring team. The programme collaborates closely with government officials from the Department of Agriculture in Mothibistad.

This initiative’s primary goal is to guide emerging farmers from conventional farming methods to more commercially viable agricultural practices. This shift emphasises crucial production performance aspects such as maximising calving rates, advancing genetics, increasing carrying capacity, and strengthening biosecurity protocols.

The project will adopt SerDev’s development model, employing a tiered approach that assists farmers at different stages of growth. This approach encourages farmers to transition from traditional to commercial farming by offering various training and incentives.

A crucial aspect of the initiative involves enhancing calving and weaning rates. By prioritising the well-being and supplementary feeding of productive cows, the calving rate can rise significantly, from the usual 35% to an impressive 85%. This enhancement will enable farmers to generate greater income from their herds.

Each farmer’s production of 8 high-quality weaners annually holds the equivalent value of a full-time job for 12 months at the minimum wage in the agricultural sector. This breakthrough can lift traditional livestock owners out of the cycle of poverty.

The project’s success also hinges on the significance of good genetics, which leads to healthier animals with improved feed-to-weight conversion. Gradually introducing quality genetic bulls will progressively enhance the herds. This proactive approach empowers farmers to replace unproductive, older, and ailing cattle with superior genetic heifers.

Carrying capacity is a critical factor, signifying the sustainable count of livestock that a particular area can support through grazing. The initiative will therefore provide farmers with valuable insights into the significance of carrying capacity and the benefits of adopting a rotational camp system to maximise grazing efficiency. In addition, careful emphasis will be placed on optimising land usage, ensuring that every piece of land contributes to the collective welfare of the entire nation.

SerDev has a meticulous focus on improving the skillsets of new and existing farmers by implementing cutting-edge methodologies. These baskets of skills comprise primary agriculture, value-chain applications, matters of finance and market entry. SerDev develops and sustains industry-specific partnerships to ensure significant eventual growth and is uncompromisingly committed to contributing to food safety and food security, whilst by the same token aiding to establish profit-driven farming practitioners. 

“This livestock programme has the potential to get livestock farmers out of the poverty trap because we will not only empower farmers, but we will also look at developing the market for the farmers. The partnership between all the stakeholders will provide hope in the very neglected and impoverished areas of the Northern Cape. It is time that livestock farmers help themselves by making informed decisions about their livestock over the long term. This programme will support and empower farmers to become independent farmers on the road to commercialisation,” said Petro Naude, the director of new business development for SerDev.

The programme welcomes all livestock farmers in the JTG region to formally apply to become participants of the JTG Impact Catalyst SerDev livestock development project by emailing the following persons: or Potential JTG Livestock participants may also phone the SerDev helpline at 072 335 3976 during office hours.              

To ensure its success, the programme, in partnership with the Department of Agricultural Extension officers, will strive to continuously work at a grassroots level.




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