The Agricultural and Rural Development Research Institute (ARDRI) of Fort Hare, the Raymond Mhlaba Farmers’ Association, and the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality, hosted the second in their series of public dialogues on rural development on 7 June 2018 at the Alice Town Hall. The topic for this dialogue was Farmer Support Services.
Agriculture has long been cited as central to solving South Africa’s rural unemployment crisis, while also being identified as the backbone of rural development. The National Development Plan of 2012 popularised the idea that, if properly supported, agriculture and its linked sectors could contribute 1 million new jobs by 2030.
On 15 December 2017 the second Keiskammahoek farmers’ market day took place in the open area next to the Keiskammahoek Post Office and opposite the taxi rank. As with the first market, the event was a collaboration between the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR), the Keiskammahoek District Farmers’ Association, ARDRI, Umtiza, and Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda. ARDRI’s participation in these farmers’ markets was driven by findings from a research project funded by the United States Department for International Development (USAID).
Milk and milk products are among nature’s most complete foods, and thus can contribute significantly to balanced human nutrition. In some countries, the production of goat and cow milk form an important part of the rural economy, especially when they are processed into yogurt, butter, cheese, ice-cream and other dairy products. At present, however, dairy farming in South Africa is dominating by ever-larger, high-tech commercial dairies which feed into a smaller number of highly capitalised dairy processors, while the ‘artisanal’ dairy sector barely exists.
In February 2017, ARDRI, in partnership with The Land Project, assisted with the establishment of a home gardening study group in kuManzimdaka village, about 40 km from Elliot. Unlike the study groups that ARDRI and its partners started supporting in 2015 and 2016 in the Alice area, the one in kuManzimdaka is very far from Alice campus, making frequent visits impractical and expensive.
Goats play a vital role in the socio-economic lives of rural people, for instance by providing food, and quick cash by virtue of their ready market demand. However, the current performance of goats in rural areas is said to be unsatisfactory due to the high rate of kid mortality, largely by unknown causes. This level of kid mortality represents a significant barrier to increased productivity in communal goat production. Such losses impact negatively on farmers’ incomes.
Born in a household of 8 children (him being the only son and the eldest), Lwazi Marawu is one of South Africa’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs whose dream is to see his business spread across the African continent. He was born in East London but while he was still very young his family moved to Butterworth. Lwazi is the CEO and Founder of Mazoyi Group which produces Mazoyi Mixture, a traditional mixture which helps children, infants and toddlers with constipation and any other bowel-related irregularities.