agriculture

Give Rural Youth A Chance

South Africa is a young country, with most of the population under 30. Many of these youth live in rural areas – often seemingly forgotten by the state until it’s time to vote.

There are hundreds of young people on farms in South Africa who have their needs ignored by politicians and decision makers. According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), 759 127 households with an aggregate population of 2 732 605 people lived on farms in 2011. There are 987 467 potential voters living in farms and aged between 20 and 39.

Malawi Government Angered by NGOs

Malawi government has accused non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of causing problems in the agriculture sector since they roll out projects without consulting relevant sectors.

District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO) for Chiradzulu Sheila Kang’ombe says some NGOs do not follow government policies when implementing development projects.

Govt Allocates R204m to Black Farmers

Multi-million rand funding for emerging black farmers has been approved by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

Thirty-one projects valued at R146 million have been earmarked for farm recapitalisation.

According to the department, land has been acquired across all nine provinces under the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) and “This development was expected to benefit 5 108 applicants.”

Food Commodity Prices Fall to Near 6-Year Low

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says the world’s major food commodity prices fell again in May to the lowest level in nearly six years amid a favourable outlook for this year’s harvests.
 
In a press statement, FAO states that its food price index averaged 166.8 points in May, down 1.4 percent from April and as much as 20.7 percent from a year earlier.
 

Organic Agriculture: Future for Small-Scale Farmers

According to an article by Nkole Nkole, when Zambia’s Kasisi Agriculture Training Centre (KATC) began operating in 1974, its methods of farming were inspired by the Green Revolution which promoted new advances in agriculture as a way to end global hunger.
 
Nkole states that the initiatives, led by a man considered the ‘Father of the Green Revolution’ Norman Borlaug involved the creation of new chemical fertilisers and synthetic herbicides and pesticides.
 

Land Cap Proposal Shocks Farmers

The African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) says the proposal by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, to limit land ownership by large scale farmers has caught them by surprise.

In a press statement, AFASA points out that, “The African Farmers Association of South Africa was caught by surprise as anyone else by the sudden and unexpected announcement of new land ceilings proposed by government.”

FAO Says E45m Need for Swazi Farmers

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) says that a total investment of E45 million is needed by farmers for tractor drawn implements that are compatible with conservation agriculture (CA) over the next three years.
 
FAO’s Khanyisile Mabuza says such a development will lead to better use of tractors with reduction in tractor hours per household up to 60 percent.
 

Smartphones and Internet Boost Farming

Wider smartphone and Internet access has allowed technology firms to reach remote African farmers with apps providing veterinary diagnoses, crop planting guidance and virtual marketplaces.
 
The growth of Africa's middle-class combined with a fall in the prices of technology has opened up opportunities for investment in farms on the world's poorest continent.
 
Africa's farms have failed to cash in because of a lack of access to infrastructure, training, capital and rapidly advancing technology.
 

Women in Agriculture: Mary Learns to Protect Her Livestock

“The real cause of hunger is the powerlessness of the poor to gain access to the resources they need to feed themselves.” - Frances Moore Lappé

Mary Choombwa is a 65 year old widow and subsistence farmer who lives in Mwonze, about 200kms from Lusaka, Zambia. Over the years, Mary lost all the 12 herds of cattle which she owned to tick-borne diseases. Mary recalls; “When the cattle died it was painful. They were my wealth. We used them for ploughing and drawing our carts. Now overnight, I was left with nothing.”

Thanda: Financial and Administration Manager

Thanda is an NPO on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal that empowers rural communities to create change. Thanda offers educational and feeding support through after-school programmes in the local schools and provides agricultural training while also developing markets for local organic produce. Thanda built the first library in the municipality and has a centre that is 100% green. In 2013 Thanda was awarded the Mail & Guardian Investing in Life Award as well as the Southern Africa Trust Drivers of Change Award.

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