Crucial to South Africa's fight against poverty and unemployment is ensuring that people have food.
This led the Mpumalanga
Provincial Government to launch the Agricultural Food Basket Initiative at the Siyancoba Community Project. The initiative seeks to improve food and nutrition security in the province’s vulnerable households in rural, urban and peri-urban areas amid the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
It is part of the provincial government’s Masibuyele Emasimini flagship programme, now called Phezukomkhono Mlimi, which uses vacant fields to fight hunger and poverty through food crop production.
The Siyancoba Community Project located at a Leeupoort Farm in Klarinet, was established through a donation of 700-hectares of land that is now used by a local community for food production.
It is expected that the initiative will create thousands of jobs for residents, especially women and youth.
The provincial government is providing infrastructure, production inputs, mechanisation support and training to residents.
According to Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, over 300 residents are already involved in the two existing projects and close to 900 casual workers will benefit.
“This translates to job opportunities and income for families who do not have jobs. About 80% of the income that will be generated through the outputs from the initiative will benefit people who work in these agricultural projects,” she says.
The outputs will also be used to supply the National School Nutrition Programme. “The ultimate goal is to enter the international market and supply it with fresh produce from Mpumalanga,” the Premier says.