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Empowering Communities

Farmers of the Future, Greater Kruger

By May 10, 2017 No Comments
Developing skills for unemployed youth through using community gardens  for subsistence and for an opportunity to develop important life, agricultural and business skills for small business opportunities.
 
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Our initial goal is to help these unemployed young people to sustain themselves and their families through growing vegetables to supplement their diet for self sufficiency. Once this is achieved we will seek with the young people to build their skills for income generation.

We are currently working in partnership with Maputha Ditshaba High School who have offered us a piece of land that we will create a community garden to help local community members sustain themselves and their families and increase income generation. Initially high school graduates will have the opportunity to learn new skills and a sustainable way of feeding themselves and their families. It will be a self-sustaining model where the youth will receive equipment and training in the garden to be able to produce vegetables for their own sustenance as well as producing seedling boxes for others. As a second phase we will provide training in basic business skills to assist with future income generation and further education.

Short Term Impact: The high school graduates will be able to provide nutritious vegetables for themselves and their families as well as learning food gardening skills.

Long Term Impact: The youth will create seedling boxes and vegetables to sell for income generation and so they can start their own garden at home. These youths will be using seedlings to start their own garden at home or continue into commercial farming to maximize income generation and partner with local businesses.

Bushbuckridge Local Municipality is one of the five constituents of Ehlanzeni District Municipality in Mpumalanga. Basic services such as running water, sanitation and health care are all under developed in this rural area. The area suffers severe unemployment, poverty, high rates of HIV/AIDS and a lack of basic education.

Many of the local residents live with family or extended family in basic housing due to the levels of poverty in the area, and the level of education is low with many of the population aged 20 years and above having no formal schooling. Although rates of Primary School attendance are improving, further and higher education in the area remains a challenge. This, in turn, increases the high unemployment rate, which currently sits at over 50%.

In Phase 1 of the project we were able to secure permission for the use of the land from the Maputha Ditshaba High School and land has seen the developments of 87 garden beds. Having planted 1615 seedlings of cabbage, beetroot, spring onion, chillies, spinach, tomatoes and green pepper, we have been able to provide 1066 full meals for 6 participants and their families with a nutrition content of 197kg.

With the drought in South Africa, the team became innovative and have put in place an watering system with 2L plastic bottles. By planting them upside down in the soil, we won’t lose water through evaporation and because the water goes deeper in the soil the plants will grow deeper and stronger roots. The gardeners and the volunteers are already collecting them and we have already planted 15 of them. Adding to that, we put in place mulching. The idea is to cover the soil with a layer of hay/dry grass in order to retain the water in the soil and to keep it protected.

We have completed compost bins and to get some aromatic herbs to fight against some pests.

We are starting Phase 2 of the project in 2018,  with a local successful farmer who has allotted us with 5 hectares of his land to be cultivated by the Farmers of the Future participants for their own development. Already in Phase 1 we have had 2 participants start college, 1 started their own business and 1 other participant develop family owned land with other members of her family. In the first Phase, the impact meant that the participants saw 1066 meals provided for them and their families with an additional R3519 generated from the produce of 197 kilograms of produce. Partnering with a local farmer assists with the mentorship of the existing participants.