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One Household, One Hectare programme on track

written by Galoome Shopane
The One Household, One Hectare programme is about creating viable small to medium rural agricultural enterprises – and about restoring dignity.

Since it was launched nearly two years ago, the One Household, One Hectare programme has benefitted thousands of households across the country.

Driven by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the programme’s aim is to eradicate poverty and create a class of black smallholder farmers, producers and agro-manufacturers.

In a recent parliamentary briefing by the department, it was stressed that the One Household, One Hectare initiative is important for job creation and inclusive growth in agriculture. It will also help government achieve equity in land ownership, access and tenure security.

So far, 6 683 households from 182 sites across the country have benefitted from the department’s various initiatives. About 10 500 households are expected to benefit from the One Household, One Hectare programme alone.

It should help reduce poverty, create sustainable employment in rural households, build rural people’s competencies and broaden the skills base of targeted households and communities while creating viable small to medium rural agricultural enterprises.

Millions in funding

The department set aside R100 million for the first year of the programme through its Recapitalisation and Development Budget.

When the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, handed over 14 hectares of land to the first recipients of the programme at Kenton-on-Sea’s Gorah Agribusiness and Multipurpose Cooperative in 2015, he said his aim was to bring back the dignity of people living in rural areas and transform the rural economy.

Since then, the cooperative – based in the Eastern Cape’s Ndlambe Local Municipality – has managed to secure contracts with Pick n Pay and a Port Elizabeth fruit and vegetable market to sell its produce at the local outlets.

The minister also dicovered during a site inspection last year that the community intends to invest 20 per cent back into the farm and diversify into livestock.

He was pleasantly surprised to find that the beneficiaries were harvesting crops of potatoes and pumpkin even though the country had been experiencing a severe drought.

All the beneficiaries of the One Household, One Hectare programme receive a certificate to be used as collateral or surety if they want the bank to help them. However, neither the land nor the certificate can be sold because the land belongs to the state.