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Agricultural allies enjoy abundant returns

Written by: Hlengiwe Ngobese

A model that ensures members work hard if they expect to share in the profits and a reliable supply of crops are the secret to the success of co-operatives.

When 33 farming co-operatives work together, an abundance of crops is produced and a happy market that knows that it can access a steady supply of fresh produce is the result.

Nyamvubu is one of the biggest co-operative groupings in KwaZulu-Natal. Established in 2014, the power of 33 means that a large quantity of cabbages, beans, mushrooms and beef are readily available and that Nyamvubu has a growing reputation for reliability. Nyamvubu cooperative members work hand-in-hand to make their farming business a success.

Speaking to Vuk’uzenzele, Nyamvubu chairman Ndoda Xulu said the co-operative received R21 million from the provincial Department of Agriculture as part of government’s Comprehensive Rural Development Programme that aims to tackle underdevelopment, food security, unemployment, poverty and other social ills.

“We used the money for fencing, irrigation equipment, tractors and livestock. The model we have implemented of one hectare per household has proved successful and it encourages everyone to work hard. If you do not plant, you don’t get anything when others sell their vegetables. This model also works well with livestock farming because when the truck comes to collect cows going to the market, everyone wants to take part,” he said.

Nyamvubu has created employment opportunities for 200 people who assist co-operative members during the planting and harvesting seasons.

A recent development in the cooperative is the inclusion of a new co-operative formed by school-leavers unable to secure employment. They did training through the Cedara agricultural college and are growing mushrooms. Their first harvest was recently sold to a big supermarket in Greytown. Soon, they will make peeled butternut available to consumers.