Celebrating International Farmer Innovation Day!
SaveAct was pleased to celebrate International Farmer Innovation Day on 29 November this year.
Marked annually since 2012 under the auspices of the international Prolinnova network, the day raises awareness about the innovation activities of farmers around the world.
Now more than ever, today’s farmers are required to continuously adapt their skills to a constantly changing environment.
A prime example of someone who has adapted to changing circumstances is Mr Edwin Lefipha Skhosana, an Eastern Cape farmer who is a member of a SaveAct-led enterprise focus group and a savings and credit group member.
Since 2011, Lefipha has taken full advantage of the savings and credit services as well as enterprising development training offered by SaveAct — with significant benefits to his livelihood and the well-being of his family.
In this month’s newsletter, some of these benefits are outlined by Lefipha himself in a short video.
After leaving his construction-related job in Johannesburg, Lefipha returned to his home village of Ned in 2002 where he eked out a living as a builder. Introduced to SaveAct through his wife in 2011, Lefipha joined a savings and credit group and soon experienced the benefits of a personal saving regime as well as having access through the group to small loans at reasonable interest rates.
Soon afterwards, he and his savings group formed a 10-member enterprise focus group involved in the production of broiler chickens.
Known as the Masakhane Broiler Group, the collective has built a permanent structure to house up to 100 birds.
SaveAct introduced the group to the broiler cage technology recommended by the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute. The technology includes a cage called the Inkukukaya broiler cage. The technology is a once-off cost to the entrepreneur.
A six-week feeding programme was introduced to the group by a SaveAct Enterprise Development Officer. The group also received inputs to support 25 day-old chicks for six weeks.
Today, Lefipha runs a 50-bird broiler enterprise on his own and is able to sell in the region of 45 birds every eight weeks at a healthy price of around R100 per bird. The bulk of his income from these sales comes during weeks 6 to 8 during which period birds are sold to community members.
He has now been advised to purchase another 25-bird cage in order to extend his selling period over the full eight weeks, thus ensuring a continuous income all year round.
Currently he is purchasing feed from a local veterinary supplier located in Matatiele. Local input suppliers in Matatiele generally sell products at higher prices than those in larger centres such as Pietermaritzburg and Kokstad. Therefore, the price of his inputs for his poultry enterprise has increased to approximately R50 per bird, but still low enough to justify continuing with his enterprise which achieves a 100% profit margin in eight weeks.
Lefipha has a range of other animals on his land and cultivates maize for household and livestock consumption and grows and sells potatoes, turnips, and spinach.
In 2015 he built a house using funds saved through his savings and credit group.
Lefipha is one of many examples of successful rural entrepreneurs in South Africa. A respected member of his community and now an enterprise leader in his enterprise focus group, Lefipha has expressed an interest in helping his community to develop and is keen to share the knowledge he has gained through his involvement with SaveAct.
SaveAct is committed to supporting individuals such as Lefipha — not only with a view to improving individual livelihoods, but with a view to improving the economic prospects of the broader community.