Fort Hare Dairy Trust bags another award at Agri-Expo award ceremony

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The award-winning Fort Hare Dairy Trust is the cream of the crop, literally and figuratively. Once again the farm has bagged a prestigious award at the ARC annual National Dairyman Awards ceremony held virtually on 21 October 2020.

This time around the farm won the 2020 Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Special Award for Innovative Development by a Dairy Producer.

This award comes just a year after the Trust became the overall winner of the Amadlelo 5th Annual Awards held in Hogsback.

The 210 hectares picturesque farm nests on land owned by the University of Fort Hare on the Alice campus. 

This year’s ARC annual event was hosted by Agri-Expo on behalf of the ARC’s National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme. The prestigious competition celebrates South Africa’s top commercial and smallholder achievers in the industry. It is recognised by key stakeholders as a highlight on the country’s agricultural calendar.

The Trust is the fruit of a partnership between the University of Fort Hare with Amadlelo Agri – a black empowerment agricultural business. It was established in 2006 and production began in 2007. To date, the farm remains commercially viable.

Last year the Fort Hare Dairy Trust farm scooped six of 15 awards during the Amadlelo 5th Annual Awards, namely:

1.     Most grass eaten per ha

2.     Least nitrogen per ha

3.     Best fertility figures

4.     Lowest cost producer

5.     Highest profit per ha

6.     And the most improved farm

Commenting about the most recent accolade, Mr Simpiwe Somdyala, CEO of Amadlelo Agri, said this was an exciting achievement.

“The Trust prides itself as one of the environmentally friendly dairy farms. Through new research, we continue to discover and develop new ways of ensuring that we have and utilise the best technologically advanced tools for our production.”

“It is encouraging to be recognised, compete and compare with top dairy operators who have been in the industry longer than us,” said Somdyala.

Ms Jeanet Rikhotso, who joined the Trust as its Manager six months ago, said the award is a result of joint effort by the employees on the farm.

“This is not an individual achievement, it is the reward of the efforts that have been put in by the current team and those who came before us. The aim is to continue producing more quality milk and growing the Trust to even greater heights,” she said.

Notable facts about the Fort Hare Dairy Trust:

  • 4.3 million litres of raw milk is produced per year
  • It has 800 dairy cows in its stock.
  • The farm has a smallholding at Coega Dairies in Port Elizabeth where the milk is sent for pasteurization. The sterilized milk is then used to make dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt.
  • The Trust serves as an enabler for proper and sustainable transfer of knowledge and skills between academics, students and commercial expertise.
  • Lastly, it creates jobs and provides experiential training to agriculture students and graduates.


by Aretha Linden