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Philipstown farmer benefits from Covid-19 funding

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With the financial assistance he has received, this farmer can now drill a borehole to provide a much-needed water source to sustain his garlic and crop farm.

AMOS REED, a Philipstown farmer, is one of a number of Northern Cape entrepreneurs, who has received support during the Covid-19 pandemic. For Reed, this has been a particularly hard time, as he has been battling both the economic downturn and the protracted drought that threatened his garlic and crop farm. 

With the financial assistance from De Aar Solar Power, funding has been allocated to drill a borehole, which is now providing a much-needed water source to sustain his crops. Additional funds will help ensure that Reed stays on top of his own expenses and can continue to plant even during the Covid lockdown.

 “It is well known that the country’s coronavirus-induced lockdown is threatening to leave a permanent mark on fledgling businesses, some of whom were already struggling before this pandemic hit,” explained Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Officer for De Aar Solar Power, who funded this programme as part of its Enterprise Development Programme. 

Four entrepreneurs have been identified to receive funding as part of the enterprise development programme. The entrepreneurs are being assessed on an individual basis to see how they are being affected by Covid-19, so that the necessary support is provided for each entrepreneur to ensure the sustainability of their business during the national crisis. 

All beneficiaries form part of the De Aar Solar Power enterprise programme, which is aimed at entrepreneurs from the rural towns of Hanover, Britstown, Philipstown and De Aar.

Reed’s business was prioritised as there was no water at the property and he would have missed the planting season.  The funds have saved his crops as he would otherwise have lost the opportunity of the planting season. 

“The assistance I received from De Aar Solar Power will go a long way as water is a scarce resource, especially here in Philipstown,” Reed said.

Angels Resource Centres, in their capacity as the De Aar Solar Power’s Rural Implementation partners and a local NPO in the Northern Cape, is assisting Reed with various relief fund applications related to food security and general agriculture support.

Other local enterprises that have also received Covid-19 funding to support their businesses’ sustainability includes Charmaine Baartman (owner of Mamfene’s Take Always, in Britstown); Jo-Anne Matjan, owner of Jo-Anne Heavenly Treats Bakery, in Britstown; and Catherine Riet, owner of Giesingskraal Irrigation, in Britstown, who has received funding to install a solar-powered water pump and water tanks.  She has been able to save her vulnerable cattle and continue to harvest and sell crops with the essential services certificate that has been obtained for her.  

“De Aar Solar Power is helping me to create jobs in our community and for me to become a strong female farmer in the district,” Baartman said.

In collaboration with Angels Resource Centres, the De Aar Solar Power funded the Big Shake-up Accelerator programme, a rural training programme that aims to provide budding entrepreneurs in the Pixley Ka Seme district with the basic skills of running a business, regardless of their education level.