A small cooperative in Limpopo is demonstrating that agriculture can be a beacon of hope amid economic hardship. Founded just a year ago, the cooperative is already transforming lives in Eldorado Village by creating jobs and boosting local food security.
Amid a backdrop of economic turmoil and job scarcity, Enney Mabitsela, 31, one of the founding members of a successful agricultural cooperative, suggests that the way forward may lie in agriculture.
Mabitsela is part of the Green Hope Agricultural Projects Cooperative founded in October 2022 with five other like-minded young individuals. The cooperative operates from Eldorado Village in Bochum, Limpopo and specialises in poultry and crop farming.
The group advocates for collective efforts in agriculture as a viable solution to economic challenges, including unemployment.
“We established the cooperative so that we could create employment opportunities for local youth and alleviate poverty in our community. Before establishing the agricultural project, we were part of a non-profit organisation which equipped us with various skills including project management and financial literacy,” she explained.
Currently, the cooperative produces vegetables such as cabbage, beetroot, carrot and onion. It also has 400 broiler chickens for consumption and 250 Lohmann Brown chickens for egg-laying.
The Green Hope Agricultural Projects sells its chickens to local community members and also supplies eggs to a local supermarket. So far, it has created employment for five people in the community.
“Our business is still fairly new and we experience challenges as we grow including having no electricity supply. We used to have electricity at the farm, but Eskom officials cut it off because we cannot operate a business using electricity meant for households. We are in the process of applying for the one suitable for businesses,” she explained.
Thusong Service Centre
The cooperative currently uses four hectares of land which it obtained from the tribal authority in their village via the Thusong Service Centre.
Thusong Service Centres were established by government to assist individuals and groups to become active players in the economy of South Africa.
Mabitsela said the cooperative has also benefitted from support and mentorship programmes offered by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“We have also received support from the provincial Department of Social Development which has built a chicken house worth R190 000 for us, a borehole worth R45 000 and assisted with production costs worth R200 000. The chicken house has a capacity to carry 2 000 broiler chickens and 1 500 Lohmann Brown chickens,” she explained.
Contact the Green Hope Agricultural Projects on 079 2199 118 or 079 935 0904 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook: The Green Hope
Contact the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on 015 294 3000, Limpopo Department of Social Development can be reached on 015 230 4300 or email email@example.com.
Did you know?
October is Social Development Month which is a campaign run by the Department of Social Development and its entities. Social Development Month is celebrated annually to mark the nation’s commitment to caring for the most vulnerable in society.