Develop sustainable farming in rural South Africa

by Biowatch

Biowatch was featured in an article in the The Huffington Post at the beginning of February. Part of the article is reprinted below. Read the original here, and please share and comment.

“A small community garden, situated in a remote rural backwater, is breaking new ground towards sustainable, organic, healthy food production. Twenty-one women have converted their subsistence gardens that once barely produced enough to feed their own families into a robust community garden producing a surplus for sale at the local market.

In the words of the group’s treasurer, “Many of our neighbors use artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides, but we now have the skills to be able to produce naturally and successfully.” Her name is Mrs. Mncube. She and her neighbors live in the KwaHhohho region of South Africa.

To counter rural South Africa’s ongoing food crisis, Biowatch has established indigenous seed banks to empower Ms. Mncube and other farmers to preserve local “food sovereignty” with sustainable, organic food production methods. You can watch a video about Mrs. Mncube and her campaign for food justice below.

“The reason people go hungry today has nothing at all to do with a gap between the amount of food in the world….There’s more than enough food on earth today to feed the world one and half times over,” according to Raj Patel in the Value of Nothing. The challenge, Patel concludes, is lack of economic and political empowerment.

One out of seven people in the world is slowly starving to death — a de facto global concentration camp of hunger. One billion people lack the basic daily calories needed to survive. This is what the policy wonks mean by “food insecurity.”

Casting aside the sterile language of the economic development geeks, imagine if one out of seven people lacked “clothes security” and walked around nearly naked part of the year. Global hunger should make you sad or mad.............. “


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By focusing on agro-ecology training, facilitating market access and raising issues about the impacts of industrial agriculture and GMOs, Biowatch helps disadvantaged households achieve household food security in areas where there is little to no access to basic life necessities.

Over 544 people received training on non-chemical, low to no-cost agricultural practices that can be used to grow food for household consumption, which has contributed to an increase in the overall nutrition of community members. In addition, project members are also becoming empowered as they learn about food security issues, understand their rights to food and farming choices and receive training on leadership development and decision-making skills.

Your support will allow Biowatch to continue their incredible work and help reach households who have limited access to safe, nutritional food sources. 

Our latest update is a success story from the rural community of KwaHhohho where a group of 21 women have a pooled their resources to start a community garden.

With training from Biowatch and supporters like you, the community garden now serves as way to generate income to support their families and to share information with neighbors about growing food from traditional seeds.

Mrs. Mncube is the Treasurer of the group. As Treasurer, she is responsible for keeping track of the collective income earned by the group’s surplus vegetable production.

Mrs. Mncube lives in KwaHhohho with her husband and her 4 children. She spends her days tending to her own garden as well as contributing to the community plot. When her children come home from school, they assist her in the garden. Each child has a small plot to tend to. Mrs. Mncube wants to pass down her knowledge to them.

KwaHhohho is situated approximately 35 kilometers from the closest town. Mrs. Mncube, along with the other members, must take public transportation into town in order to try and sell the surplus produce from the community garden. Although in town, it is sometimes difficult to sell their produce as the market is saturated; nonetheless, she is able to earn additional and much-needed income for her family.

Before Biowatch, Mrs. Mncube only planted a small plot but she now has a large garden growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Through training from Biowatch, she has learned about non-chemical farming methods. She has also come to appreciate the importance of traditional agriculture as she has improved the soil on her land through methods such as composting.

With your support, more women like Mrs. Mncube can receive training to start their own gardens!


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Organization Information


Location: Durban, KZN - South Africa
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Gillian Wilson
IDEX Latin America Program Director
San Francisco, CA United States

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