While many of us have the luxury of visiting our nearest local grocery store, for many South Africans living in rural communities, food is a commodity that is only available through subsistence farming. According to food security studies, 60% of South Africans living in rural communities are reliant on subsistence farming to meet household food demand. For many of these households, the only source of income is from small-scale farming. Khulisa Social Solutions, through its Sustainable Livelihoods programme, has provided crucial support for small scale agricultural businesses in the Rustenburg region in the North West province.
The Sustainable Livelihoods is a programme designed to increase agricultural output and develop the wellbeing and livelihoods of the people living in this under-resourced community. The programme has identified local community-based organisations (CBOs) to enrol them in a 12-month capacitation programme that looks at agricultural skills development, environmental stewardship, business management, compliance, financial management and market access. The end goal of Khulisa’s Sustainable Livelihoods programme is to develop a thriving local economy within these communities and increase the resilience of households through an improved level of food security.
“With 20% of South African households experiencing hunger, agricultural CBO capacitation programmes play an important role in empowering residents in under-resourced communities to increase their income earning potential as well as the ability to feed their families,” says Lesley shares Lesley Ann van Selm, managing director of Khulisa. “The programme in Rustenburg has been hugely successful with 12 avid local farmers going through permaculture training to eventually start and run small-scale farming businesses that supply food products to the wider community.”
One of the success stories is the Losia Phudieng Cooperative, a CBO that comprised of a group of members who farm in Kanana, Rustenburg. The group uses the permaculture skills to grow and sell a host of organic vegetables to the community. In the future they are looking to add livestock, specifically poultry to their farm. The Cooperative is now planning on expanding their farm and is in the process of converting land, assessing the quality of their water and soil on the land, and have now started planting seedlings. Selling this organic produce at affordable prices, they plan to bring a greater level of food security to their community.
“The Sustainable Livelihoods programme has helped local residents turn viable business ideas into thriving agri-businesses that benefits the local community. With the programme successes, there are also still many challenges that we face. There is still a large percentage of the Rustenburg community that is affected by food insecurity. Resources like water, soil and compost are scarce. There is still so much untapped entrepreneurial potential in Rustenburg; with a bit more funding we can capacitate more agri-businesses and bring more food security to the community,” shares van Selm.\
Picture courtesy Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/selective-focus-photography-of-green-vegetables-3265437/
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