Agriculture Programme Updates

Value-added Training in Swayimane

The successful Value-added Training was previously done with Zimele Community farmers in Mtubatuba and this time two members from each cluster in Swayimane attended. Training was conducted by Nomcebo Nyandu from the Department of Agriculture, Cedara Agriculture College and took place on 2nd and 3rd March at the Swayimane Tribal Court. The members were enthusiastic and eager to learn as they were keen to solve their long standing problems of commodities going to waste and losing money in the process.

Training showed the farmers that what they currently grow in their gardens can be converted into different products, not only sold as fresh produce. These different products can be sold easily, consumed differently and can give the produce a longer shelf life. Participants were trained in the following:

Jam and juice-making from pumpkin

Making chutney from beetroot and atchar from cabbages

Making sauces from tomatoes

Drying fruits

Training also included good hygiene practice which was very useful to the farmers. They were shown the importance of boiling the bottles to ensure they are clean before filling, wearing something on their head to cover their hair and removing jewellery whilst working.

With both Mtubatuba and Swayimane farmers having had the opportunity to receive this valuable training the uThukela (Winterton) district communities will be next, as per the training provider’s schedule.

Members of Value added trainingValue added training in progress

Above: participants at the Value-added Training in Swayimane.

Small Dam Construction training

Drought is a major problem that we are faced with at the moment. Water scarcity has reached a point where people are having to buy water just for their essential needs. Fields are dry, growing crops is very difficult and in some places livestock is dying, resulting in farmers losing money.

In light of this a three day training workshop on the construction of small dams was organised at the African Enterprise conference venue in Pietermaritzburg. The training was attended by representatives from different organisations in and around Pietermaritzburg, with delegates from organisations such as Lima, Siyazisiza, Wessa, Mahlathini Organics, Thembalethu Trust, ERS, Siyavuna and ACAT.

The objective of the training was to take the information gathered by the representatives and relay it back to the farmers in the communities. This is to help the farmers conserve the little rain water that we do get. The concept is that rain water is collected in a small plastic lined “dam”. The process involves digging a small (about waist-high) hole which is then lined with plastic to prevent water filtering through the soil and the dam drying out. The plastic lining should overlap and be covered with soil to secure it. Channels are then dug to guide the water to fill up the dam. The hope is that these small dams give the farmer some water for their gardens so that they can continue growing crops for their households and for selling.

Discussions during training considered how safe these small dams would be and the chances of children or livestock falling in and drowning. It was emphasised that the dam shouldn’t be too deep and also constructed in a fenced off area.

The practical part of the training was carried out in one of the Zimele Community gardens in Winterton. This garden was chosen as part of the One Day Wages Programme. Members of the community participated and worked together as a team. During the practical training a pedal pump was introduced to the community. This type of water pump is ideal as it requires neither fuel nor electricity to run and is also user-friendly. By peddling, almost like riding a bicycle, the water is pumped from the stream via the pipe then collected into a container. The pump itself costs approximately R4000 each. The community was offered the pump provided they maintained the work that has been done so far.

Hole being dug for small damPlastic lining to prevent seepage

 

 

 

 

Above: a hole being dug for a small dam & plastic lining to prevent seepage.

Mumma being shown how to use the pump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: muma having fun while learning how to use a pedal pump.

Report by: Bheki Makhathini (Agriculture Field Trainer).

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Zimele Community mentioned in the Meander Chronicle


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