SaveAct hosted a visit to KwaZulu-Natal by two staff members of Praekelt.org Pippa Yeats and Luke
Shankland. The delegation visited two sites: Nzinga village in Impendle where they witnessed a meeting of the Inamandla Savings Group; and Centocow, where they visited a couple of women, Ethel Dlamini and Velile Jile (pictured above) who are part of a potato enterprise focus group, and a group of youths who have formed a maize enterprise focus group.
Founded in 2007 as the Praekelt Foundation, Praekelt.org is a non-profit organisation that uses mobile technology to improve the lives of people living in poverty.
During the visit to Nzinga on 7 November, Luke and Pippa had a chance to pose questions to members of the savings group, field officer Silindokhule Zikalala and community based promoter Sithembile Molefe.
Women potato farmers
The group then moved on to Ndodeni, a rural arear near Centocow in the south-west area of KwaZulu-Natal province, where they met Ethel Dlamini and Velile Jili who are members of an all-woman 13-member potato enterprise focus group called Izambane.
The women also run a broiler enterprise and have received training through Save-Act’s broiler enterprise development programme. Keen to expand their skills, they recently embarked on the potato programme
The Izambane group is currently involved in a potato trial, which allows the farmers to put what they learn in the classroom into practice in the field. Practicals are facilitated by SaveAct Enterprise Development Officer Dumisani Magubane.
“The trial exhibits what the results could be if the farmers implement what they learn through the enterprise programme,” said Magubane. “The farmer gets to witness the outcomes of the farming methods relating to pest and disease prevalence, crop quality and yields.”
The group gets to keep the entire crop yield produced in the trial. According to Magubane, the profits are reinvested in the EFG and will be used to purchase broiler inputs for their existing enterprise.
The women will continue with the broiler enterprise until potato planting season comes around again.
Some facts and figures:
|Plot size||10 m x 20 m|
|Yield||Approx. 800 kg potatoes (80 x 10 kg bags)|
|Input costs||Approx. R1,600|
Innovative young farmers join forces for improved livelihoods
Two kilometres away in Kangala, the delegation had a chance to meet a group of young male maize farmers who have established a registered enterprise focus group (EFG).
Because they are struggling with finance for their enterprise, the group is interested in forming a savings and credit group so they can access more funds for agricultural inputs.
Comprising 14 members, all within the youth bracket, the group approached SaveAct Enterprise Development Officer Dumisani Magubane to register them as an EFG.
“This was the result of a few of them noticing the work being done at Ndodeni (neighbouring community) by the broiler and potato EFGs. They were pleased by the activities and growth of the Ndodeni EFG’s, as such; they wanted to be inducted in the enterprise program,” said Magubane.
“My role is to provide extension services to the farmers with regards to maize as a commodity. I facilitate both theoretical and practical sessions on financial planning and management, production and marketing amongst other modules. I also facilitate input supply for the farmers though SaveAct’s bulk buying system.”
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