Promoting Agriculture

OVERVIEW

Agriculture is an important sector in Africa. Most people, especially the vulnerable, depend on agriculture for their living. Despite availability of arable soils and water resources in some parts, the continent still imports a lot of food. Development strategies in the region have not managed to harness the full potential of agriculture, ensuring not only adequate food production, but also economic and social development. 

Agricultural incomes continue to decline and unsustainable management techniques in agriculture and natural resources have become a growing concern, threatening the resource base of the region. As a result, Africa experiences food insecurity, land degradation and the overall challenge of entrenched and widespread poverty. 

The challenges faced by the South African agriculture sector require multifaceted structural reforms (such as land reform), technological interventions, adoption of agricultural policies that favour smallholder farmers, and other economic and political governance responses. These responses must be based on the identification of best practices in the region and on learning from other regions. 

Innovative solutions in agricultural food production and marketing are needed, which are adaptable to the prevailing socio-economic and environmental circumstances. 

The Covid-19 Lockdown in South Africa has had a devastating impact on access to food by families and communities across the country. The prolonged crisis has also had an immeasurable impact on subsistence and smallholder farmers who already have limited access to inputs, transportation, finance, and extension services.

Our Approach to Promoting Agriculture

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation is committed to investing in community-based initiatives targeting subsistence and smallholder farmers in agricultural production in order to achieve a greater impact on economic growth and poverty reduction.
Our Current Initiatives

Kilimo Agriculture Programme

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation seeks to leverage the early successes of its education project that intends to leverage technology to close the educational gap that exists between rural and urban schools, to introduce an agriculture intervention to the 50 schools we work in in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. The education project has thus far worked with 25 primary schools in each province, serving 23 337 learners with technology to use in classroom lessons. A total of 244 teaching staff have been taken through professional development and digital training sessions by 7 coaches.

The Foundation’s Kilimo Agriculture Programme aims to:

  • Start vegetable garden projects at primary schools to cultivate practical gardening skills.
  • Distribute seeds, seedlings and inputs to both bolster food and nutritional security in peri-urban and rural areas impacted by the impact of Covid-19.
  • Provide training to subsistence and small-scale farmers.

ONE

School garden pilot project

Alongside the full-time employed coaches, it has on the ground, the Foundation intends to utilise its convening power to meaningfully address food security in rural communities whilst also equipping primary school learners with the knowledge, tools, and practical experience to grow their own food for the benefit of their families and communities.

In Q2 of 2021, we will roll-out the project in 50 schools – 25 in the Amathole District in the Eastern Cape and 25 in the Bohlabela District in Mpumalanga – with the objective of:

  • Integrating of practical garden skills and nutrition education into primary school curricula
  • Promoting school gardens as living laboratories
  • Involving of parents in creating school and community gardens.

TWO

Seed Distribution Project

Alongside the full-time employed coaches, it has on the ground, the Foundation intends to utilise its convening power to meaningfully address food security in rural communities whilst also equipping primary school learners with the knowledge, tools, and practical experience to grow their own food for the benefit of their families and communities.

In Q2 of 2021, we will roll-out the project in 50 schools – 25 in the Amathole District in the Eastern Cape and 25 in the Bohlabela District in Mpumalanga – with the objective of:

  • Integrating of practical garden skills and nutrition education into primary school curricula
  • Promoting school gardens as living laboratories
  • Involving of parents in creating school and community gardens.