Page 1

FOCUSED: Asgisa-EC

Reaping

Project to

benefits

poor

helps

Eastern

thousands

harvest

of

Cape

tons

of

of

families

maize

They

came

They right

been

-

SUNDAY TIMES, Business Times Sunday, 4 April 2010, p. 8

SIMPIWI PILISO HREE

T

years ago, thousands of rural families in

former Transkel In the Eastern Cape faced starvation

the

their fields lay dry, as cracked and barren. But, a bold initiativeby the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative for SA in the Eastern Cape (AsgisaEC) has resulted In communities in Butterworth, Qumbu and Mount Frere harvesting thousands of tons of maize. Two of the impoverished communities near Butterworth are expected to harvest more than 6 000 tons within the next few months. Food security is our primary focus said Simphiwe Somdyala, Asgisa-ECs chief executive. rural communities Selected

Ongeluk

the

when

fields had

our

for

time

at

lying a

long

fallow time

chief

executive Simphiwe Somdyala has food security for about L2

a

bold

i


SUNDAY TIMES, Business Times Sunday, 4 April 2010, p. 8 forced removals are entitled to reclaim their ancestral land or be offered alternative land or cash compensation. Since its establishment in 1994, SAÒs Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has settled 74808 of the 79696 land claims lodged, at a of

cost of R16-billion. in

a

pilot project to address the

crisis, Asgisa-EC families livestock.

is

giving

The

these

project

districts.

One

at

programme

1

of

Asgisa-ECÒs most

pilot projects

Is

reviving the land reform and transforming small emerging farms into commercial cattle ranches. In lIiot, Asgisa-EC selected 86 emerging farmers, who were given a herd of 30 beef heifers and a bull as part of a R17-million pilot project called Sakhisizwe Livestock Beef Programme. The farmers have to repay Asgisa-EC only within five years. According to Asgisa-EC, Óthe cattle calve once a year, so, in five years, a farmer who received 30 cattle is expected to have Asgisa-ECÒs records show that the government-funded organisa aimed

Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Asgisa-EC. Somdyaia said his organisation had already committed more than R100-million to the expansion of the project this year, covering 0 R Tambo Chris Hani, Uithahlamba, Amathole and Alfred Nzo municipal

In

contrast, the minister of rural affairs, land

Guglie Nkwlnti, recently painted a bleak picture of the countryÒs rural agriculturalsector. He told a media briefing In Cape Town that food security and growth were being economic undermined by the collapse of more than 90% of the farms that the government had bought for restitution or redistribution to victims of apartheid. However, he said the government would Invest almost R.500million this year to begin to rescue new black farmers who had not been given adequate support or resources to work the farms. Despite most of these farms around the country falling into ruin, Asgisa-EC has spearheaded several initiatives to rescue the situationin the Eastern Cape. Within three years it has gone to the aid of scores of families, farms and rural communities, reviving land that had not been properly utilised for several decades. Asgisa-EC, said Somdyala, was about also extremely concerned the number of collapsing farms given to farmers under the Land Restitution Act. Under restitutionlaws, victims

has to date:

organisation

Õ Leased

more

than

4

370ha

of

fallow land in the former Transkei,

erected fences around It and used it for crop farming. To date, four pilot projects have produced more than 17 560 tons of maize; Õ Ploughed about 500 000ha in the Transkei region, whidh produces soya beans, canola, sunflowers, sugar cane, flowers, sugar beet and fruit; and Õ Delivered 1 295 heifers and 43 bulls to 86 black-owned farms, with each farm given 30 beef helfers. Of these, 503 cows went to 43 beneficiaries of the Land Restitution Act. The Sakhisizwe programme intends to herd a million livestock, ranging from cattle to sheep, on Eastern Cape farms by 2019. Asgisa-ECÒs plantations are situated in 11 local municipalities from Butterworth to Matatiele. They form part of a partnership between the municipalities, the

successful.

Ongeluksnek

Matatlele, which has produced significant harvest from the 770ha planted last year. Community member and chairman of the Lekgetlane Co-operative Mzikayise Kibi said: ÓThey (Asgisa-EC) came at the right time when our fields had been lying fallow for a longtime. We could not address hunger issues without cropping (planting crops), because in the rural areas cropping is our life. We are confident that, for black farmers,this is a step forward.Ô Although Asgisa-EC has existing markets for its maize and other produce, the organisation could soon consider selling and exporting to neighbouring countries. In February, it was reported that Zimbabwe may have to import more than half the maize it needs this year to cover a shortfall after drought destroyed crops and left the country facing a severe food shortage. in

a

Zimbabwe

development and

is

has relied on food aid

and imports since 2001, after President Robert MugabeÒs government seized commercial farms from whites to resettle landless blacks, most poorly whom of were equipped and under-funded. For now one of AsgisaÒs biggest challenges is the dire shortage of maize storage facilities. Somdyala said his agency had set aside RI-million to alleviate the chronic shortage by constructing new silos and refurbishing existing onea ÓHowever, an additional R33million Is required for the entire silo Investment.Ô There are plans to buy 12 unused silos with a combined storage capacity of 30 000 tons In Butterworth. worth. ÓThe talks with the owners of the silos, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, are fairly advanced.Ô

New

silos will be

built in

Butterworth,

Mhlontlo and Mataticle, with smaller community silos at strategic locations,;

ÓMaize Is a cornniOdlty whose is determined via the South African Futures Exchange, and this varies. In the absence of storage, communities are forced to accept the price given at any time, because you need to dispose of the maize. ÓThe result is that we canÒt take advantage of price fluctuations in the market, which led to less revenue from maize priûes last year. This had an effect:on funds available for re-investment,Ô said Somdyala. price

http://www.asgisa-ec.co.za/documents/Sunday%20Times%20040410  

http://www.asgisa-ec.co.za/documents/Sunday%20Times%20040410.pdf

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