News from HPPSA

In South Africa agriculture is comprised of mainly two categories of farmers - the small-scale farmers and the large-scale commercial (mainly man) farmers. The concept of "small-scale farmers" is usually value-laden and is often viewed in a negative light. Small-scale farmers are often equated with a backward, nonproductive, non-commercial, subsistence agriculture that we find in rural communities.

FC Photo1Women play a vital role in rural farming which in turn plays a vital role in the progression of the family economically and the family's food supply. Despite the effort made by women in this regard, they are usually faced with lack of access to productive resources, technologies, services and markets.

Through the Farmers' Clubs, Humana People to People in South Africa resolves these setbacks that the women face in their mission to support their families through farming. The program which has 68% of the farmers being women focuses on empowering the farmers, coordinating and equip them with modern sustainable skills to improve their production.

In the 3 years of operation Farmers' Clubs has seen the 400 farmers in the program improve their yields by 10%. This has boosted their families' food security and income as they have enough crop to sell for income.

Nonyameko is a 41 year old woman from Quinani South in Eastern Cape, South Africa. She is married and has 6 children. With her newly improved farming skills and knowledge gained from her Project Leader she now not only has enough food to feed her family, but also sells produce as a means of income.

"My husband and I did not have jobs. So I joined Farmers' Clubs in July 2012 where I enrolled as a farmer and received training in conservation and agriculture which helped me to start planting vegetables again. I now have enough vegetables to feed my family and even sell my spinach, cabbage and beans for an income," says Nonyameko.

While women's role in agricultural production helps guarantee self-sustenance, it is not enough to cover other needs. Considering that preventable diseases and epidemics like HIV & AIDS and TB pose a major challenge in rural farming communities, Farmers' Clubs women and families are supported with information on health, hygiene and healthy nutrition advice.

Wandile stays with her 6 grandchildren. She had seven children; however two of them sadly passed away due to TB and Cancer. Since her husband also passed away in 2004, Wandile has really been struggling to make a living.

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"I am happy I joined Farmers' Clubs because we are now working in our groups, our demo garden is looking good and it has encouraged me a lot. The Project Leader has played a crucial role in motivating us and that has taught me a lot about the different issues affecting our community. She trained farmers in health and hygiene so that we can take care of our families," explains Wandile.

"I have started planting different vegetables in my backyard such as potatoes, cabbage, spinach and onion. In the past I had to buy vegetables in faraway markets, now I have my own vegetable garden and that money is being saved while I eat well and sell the surplus."

The Farmers' Clubs programme furthermore places emphasis on environmental management and sustainability, organic agriculture as well as educating farmers on topics such as global warming and climate change.

Farmers' Clubs recognizes that by empowering women farmers with skills and support it can increase their income, develop a stable rural livelihood and contribute to ensure food security in their families and the community.

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