- Education – Training over 680 locals (84% women) to farm via an Agricultural Sustainable Community Investment Programme
- Employment & Food Security – Farmers grow fresh, sustainable organic produce to feed their families
- Livelihood Development – Excess produce is sold by the entrepreneurs to neighbours and Siyavuna via a famer’s association
- Sustainability – Siyavuna then sells the crops under the Kumnandi brand to local shops in Umdoni and Hibiscus Coast municipalities inaccessible from the rural communities where the crops are grown
SIYAVUNA implements a programme called Agri-SCIP (Sustainable Community Investment Programme).
Smallholder farmers grow fresh produce organically, feed themselves and their families first and sell excess produce on a weekly basis for cash. This assists them to build livelihoods out of their small scale agricultural enterprises. Organic practices are adopted as they produce food of superior nutritional value and encourage small holder farmers to develop healthy eco-systems that are highly beneficial for the environment as well as the long term sustainability of their home garden.
The ten targeted areas are under-resourced and marginalized rural communities in Ugu, Kwa-Zulu Natal. Three are in Umdoni Municipality and seven are in Hibiscus Coast Municipality. On entry into the programme, the majority of the 620 enrolled farmers were dependent on government grants. The livelihood development aspect of this programme lessens the dependency on grants and leverages the untapped resources that these families have – namely land, labour and traditional know-how of agriculture.
Our monitoring data from post training visits shows that 87% of entry level trainees (M1 group) establish a garden at home within 6 months of being trained. Of these, 72% report an improvement in food security and 54% have signed up to sell their produce to their local co-operative. 75% of signed up farmers (M2 and M3) sell their produce to their co-op to earn additional income.
Two farmer run Co-ops have been established and their role is buying and selling the fresh produce under a brand called Kumnandi (means “delicious”). This enables the building of a social brand that is associated with locally grown, fresh and healthy produce. The stronger the brand grows, the greater the demand for produce will be and the more money gets injected into communities that need it most.
Farmers are encouraged to join savings groups, facilitated by partner organization, SaveAct. This gives them access to micro-finance if needed and enables them to save money to be able to invest in their businesses.
The organization’s strategy is to work with the Co-operatives to bring them to a point of self-sustainability and profitability. At this stage, Siyavuna gives the Co-ops a subsidy each month to help them meet their running costs of travel and co-op staff salaries. The subsidy is capped and will reduce systematically as the co-ops build their business.
Most of our efforts are channelled into capacity building. This includes upskilling emerging and established farmers. Co-op and Farmer Association leadership, community field workers and business owners.
Agri-SCIP’s investment in people is time intensive and comes at an unavoidable cost. However, without this, other investments are either underutilized or, worse, risk only lasting as long as the project input flow will be available. Only when people develop a sense of ownership and self-worth sustainable development can take place.
A recent development in Siyavuna is evidence of this. Several farmers who live in close proximity to each other in Gcilima have pooled cash earned from vegetable sales and have jointly built their own community collection point. The pride they feel in having built their own infrastructure out of personal profits and their own labour is far superior to how they would have felt if Siyavuna had simply invested donor funds in building this infrastructure.