ftfa launches farmer eco-enterprise development programme

Submitted by incoming on Mon, 2011-10-31 10:56

Ratanang Permaculture projectRatanang Permaculture projectFood insecurity, food-related riots and malnourishment have been on the increase globally in the last number of years, and Africa has been particularly hard hit.

South Africa has an opportunity to create solutions that can be scaled up across the continent, as well as providing its own poor with sustainable livelihoods and dignity. But small farmers often lack the managerial and technical expertise to succeed in the highly competitive farming industry.

A new programme by Food & Trees for Africa’s (FTFAs), Farmer Eco Enterprise Development (FEED), is aiming to address the needs of emerging farmers to enable them to become players in the mainstream agricultural economy.

Implementing projects with poor communities that have positive impact, in terms of employment and income generation, sustainability and long term commercial viability, is currently high on the agenda of government and international agencies, and offers excellent Enterprise Development, Corporate Social Investment and BEE opportunities.

Coordinating FEED Africa for FTFA is Quinton Naidoo, a man with a wealth of experience in business and agricultural development who previously headed Lonrho Agribusiness, which contracted growers throughout Africa to produce for its value chain which supplies numerous international retail giants. Quinton has also worked with Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade & Industry.

A FEED project is under way in the Bronkhorstspruit area and the investment into community has been made by one of SA’s large corporations under the mantle of their Social & Labour Plan. This project is aimed at providing sustainable economic growth and diversification in the communities where the sponsor operates. Under the agreement, FEED Africa will work with local subsistence farmers to develop a farming cooperative that will deliver the yield, volume and quality of production necessary to establish a commercially viable agricultural business. The sponsor will provide the funding necessary for FEED Africa to design and develop the infrastructure, irrigation, farming and greenhouse facilities necessary for the cooperative to be able to produce on a commercially viable scale.

“I am delighted to have been chosen to develop this project. The time is ripe for a new agrarian transformation. The need for food security and sustainable livelihoods among the poor is crucial. FEED enables emerging farmers to join the mainstream agricultural economy and the opportunity to replicate similar projects across South Africa can have a significant impact on poor communities and their sustainability,” said Naidoo.

FEED presents a practical, pragmatic and scalable model of how business can help affect this new and necessary agrarian transformation.

For more information please contact info@trees.org.za.