June 2023.

Agri-entrepreneur Catherine Riet, from the small Northern Cape farming town of Britstown, has achieved her long time goal of becoming a crop farmer.

The owner of Giesingskraal Irrigation, Catherine’s goal of diversifying her cattle farming business activity to include crop farming has come to fruition over the three years that she has been supported by De Aar Solar Power’s enterprise development programme. This tenacious farmer is now successfully cultivating lucerne to feed her cattle and as well as to derive income from sales to other farmers in the community.

She is one of three farming enterprises who has benefited from mentoring and funding as part of this stimulus programme, selected from a from a larger cohort.

“Despite not having any formal qualifications, Catherine’s business plan was selected for its vision, the strong red meat market demand as well as her dedication during the mentoring process, which demonstrated her passion and unwavering hard work. We support her long term vision to become a ‘strong black commercial farmer’ and to expand her farming to include greenhouse vegetable production, which is resolute,” explained Zuki Ndlela, Economic Development Specialist for De Aar Solar Power.

In addition to the standard business programme support, Catherine received funding to install a solar-powered water pump and water tanks to save her vulnerable cattle and continue to harvest and sell crops with the essential services certificate that was obtained for her, in May 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Catherine is a hard worker who will not wait for things to happen but makes things happen. She has shown a lot of zeal and commitment to her dream so much so that even when things didn’t go well due to lack of water, she and her husband had to find a way to get water to their farm whilst waiting for assistance from us. From the revenue derived from the sale of lucerne, she has been able to purchase calves to swell her livestock herd,” concluded Ndlela.

De Aar Solar Power’s Enterprise Development Programme provides training and support that helps create viable small businesses and assist budding entrepreneurs and creating employment opportunities in the Pixley Ka Seme district’s rural towns of Britstown, Hanover, Philipstown and De Aar.

051 250 4300