Funding for food projects

Written by Kgaogelo Letsebe

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has invested in two community-based agricultural projects in a bid to tackle food insecurity in the province. Members of the Greenhands Community Food Garden Project with Western Cape Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer. Image: Greenhands Project

These projects are the Middelpos Farm and Greenhands Community Food Garden Project in Stompneus Bay.

Western Cape Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer says his department has allocated over R2 million to the Middelpos Farm and R198 000 to the Greenhands project.

The funding was prompted by food insecurity, a lack of jobs and low household income in the area.

“The budget for these projects was determined after an assessment by the department’s extension officials in the area. We envisage that this funding will boost the projects’ ability to provide communities with sustainable food sources,” he says.

Meyer adds that the funding for Middelpos Farm will allow for the establishment of an agro-processing plant, improved mechanisation and production input for vegetables. The funding will also help with current farming activities.

A study by the provincial government on household food and nutrition security in the region has revealed that food insecurity in the Western Cape is most prevalent among black and coloured population groups, with African households making up 53% and coloured households constituting 41% of those with inadequate access to food.

The study also shows that vulnerable groups include women-headed households.

The Middelpos Farm is 60 hectares and has 15 families who are direct beneficiaries of the farm’s produce. Current farming activities include olives, Shiraz grapes, vegetables, agro-processing and arts and crafts aimed at project sustainability and skills transfer. 

Petronella Ponie, a team leader of the Greenhands project, says her initiative came about when 15 residents – 14 women and one man – came together to start a food garden after most of them battled to find work after the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak last year.

“The ground which we have turned into a food garden was previously a large dumping ground. We put in some hard work to establish the garden to provide our families and the community with a sustainable source of affordable and nutritious food," she says.