A milk-price war is leaving SA's small-scale dairy farmers feeling sour. SA's national small-scale farmer for 2017, Willie Jacobs, an emerging farmer, had big dreams for his Hazeldene dairy farm outside Tweespruit, but like hundreds of his compatriots in the Free State and the inland provinces, those have been dashed. Low milk prices, brokers, transporters, poor government support, cheap imports and a national Milk Producers Organisation (MPO) which allegedly has little concern for small-scale farmers, have thrown the country's inland dairy farm sector into disarray. In 2009 there were 929 dairy farmers in the Free State. Today there are fewer than 190, with 30 set to shut up shop later this month, after receiving notice from milk transport companies that their farms were no longer on viable collection routes. In the past nine years 13 Free State towns, along with dozens in the North West and Mpumalanga, which are largely dependent on dairy farms for survival, have been devastated b...

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