With the much-anticipated Ankole livestock auction, hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in Bela-Bela, Limpopo, on Saturday, an Ankole cattle farmer has provided SABC News with insight into the breeding and rearing of some of the world’s most coveted animals.
Chief Livhuwani Matsila of Matsila village, outside Louis Trichardt, is one of few Ankole cattle farmers in the country.
One of the most sought-after cattle breeds in the world, the Ankole cattle are indigenous to East and Central Africa.
According to Matsila, an Ankole animal can cost anywhere between R100 000 to R3 million on the South African market and in auctions. He acquired a herd of about ten head of Ankole cattle from Uganda through a costly embryo transplant process.
Although they are expensive to buy, Matsila says the animals are cheap to rear as they can withstand the harshest of conditions, including drought.
The farmer says he plans to buy another Ankole bull at the Phala Phala Ankole auction in Bela-Bela on Saturday to add to his herd. But it will cost him an arm and a leg.
“The physical build of a bull, for instance, and length of the horns can make a bull or a cow very expensive in the market, that is why there is no average price for them. Even a young calf can cost close to R2 million as seen in the last auction. There is also the consideration that this cow will give you a calf every year,” explains Matsila.
His assistant farmer, Alidzuli Ramugondo, adds that the Ankole has a very aggressive temperament, especially when under threat and protecting its offspring.
“The structure of the bull for instance and the length of the horns will make a bull or a cow very expensive in the market that is why there is no average price for one. Even a young one will cost close to R2 million as it appeared in the last auction, there also that this cow will give you a calf every year.”
Matsila’s farm is a tourism and development hotspot for the village as tourists from near and far flock to the village to see the majestic Ankole cattle.