Thousands of residents in the Chris Hani area are set to benefit from the department of rural development and agrarian reform (DRDAR) Household Food Production programme, as government aims to implant the culture of self-sustenance and household food security in rural areas of the Eastern Cape.
A total of 20 household food producers in Mhlahlane Village, Tsomo, received sets of gardening tools and seeds from the MEC for DRDAR Nomakhosazana Meth, last Wednesday.
The handover of the tools formed part of the provincial government’s rapid service programme in celebration of the life of one of the country’s freedom fighters, Vuyisile Mini.
The beneficiaries produce a variety of vegetables including spinach, cabbages, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and onions.
The MEC revealed that 4000 residents from the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) were going to benefit from the food production programme to boost household organic farming.
“This is a multipronged approach in which we want people to produce their own food from their backyard gardens. By doing this, we inculcate the culture of being producers rather than consumers and realising the value of land,” she said.
Meth indicated that the programme would contribute towards government efforts to alleviate poverty as it helped people sustain themselves.
A household food producer from Mhlahlane Village, Dumisani Qwesha, said the tools had encouraged him to expand his garden and explore other ideas in the sector.
“I grow food in my garden all year round and the soil has been prepared for ploughing. Now that I have a rake and a fork it is going to be easier to prepare the soil for different kinds of vegetables,” he said.
Another household food producer, Nomini Ngcaweni added that the majority of residents in the area depended on social grants and handouts.
“Many young people from this area are unemployed. They have absolutely nothing to do and programmes like this could stimulate one’s passion for crop production on a large scale. This programme is like a springboard to farming,” she said.
The tools given to the household food producers as a foothold consisted of hoes, watering cans, rakes, forks and spades.
The MEC also handed over a communal dipping tank facility that would enable livestock improvement for the area’s small scale farmers to expand infrastructure.