I was born and raised in a rural area somewhere in the eastern side of Limpopo Lowveld. I never suffered from malnutrition or any other disease linked to food insecurity because my parents relied on small-scale farming to produce the food that we consumed as a family. Like many other families in my area, we have a piece of land where we plant crops depending on the season of the year. Many people in my community face a number of socio-economic hardships in their daily lives. To escape the reality of living under such hardships, they invest their time and energy into small-scale farming.
Under normal circumstances, women from rural areas make excuses from the demands of family life, claiming these make it impossible for them to focus on their personal and entrepreneurial development. However, Mosele Qhusheka, 46, has dispelled this belief. Lack of resources, finance, training, appropriate technology and poor infrastructure, that continue to torment our female farmers were not enough to hinder her from realising her dream.
Environmental and farm groups have accused the World Bank of helping corporations and international investors snap up cheap land in Africa and developing countries worldwide at the expense of local communities.
In a statement released to coincide with the bank's annual land and poverty conference in Washington DC, the groups, which include NGO Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) and La Via Campesina, say that decades of World Bank policies have pushed African and other governments to privatise land and focus on industrial farming.
There are a number of reasons why deagrarianisation (the move away from agricultural activities) is happening in the rural Eastern Cape. One is the flight of human capital to the urban centres leaving the old aged and the sick in rural areas. This flight of human capital is due to the lack of employment opportunities and income generation-related activities in rural areas.
Permaculture should be considered as a sustainable food production system - a completely new way to plan ‘food production’. Cuba is a good example of where they use permaculture to produce food in a low carbon manner with almost no input (fertilisers and pesticides) nor transport and heavy equipment (all of which depend on oil and are sourced externally). Employment was created, and the principle of working with nature was applied by rehabilitating and using the many environmental services (nutrient and inputs recycling).
South Africa (SA) still lags behind in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of food security and poverty eradication. The current trends of education in SA affect the agriculture sector. Agriculture information is not integrated with other development programmes to address the numerous related problems faced by small-scale and emerging farmers. Information is an essential ingredient in agricultural development programmes.
Participation of households in food security immensely contributes towards addressing the poverty, unemployment, under-nutrition, and other socio-economic challenges faced by South Africans and can assist in reducing the current burden on the government in terms of payment of grants.
Small-scale agriculture is the production of crops and livestock on a small-piece of land without using advanced and expensive technologies. Though the definition of size of these farms is a source of debate, it can be argued that farming on family pieces of land, on traditional lands and smallholdings on the periphery of urban areas, fall in this category. This type of farming is usually characterised by intensive labour and in most cases, animal traction, limited use of agrochemicals and supply to the local or surrounding markets.
Gone are the days when farming was a pass time, a way of life, a by the way and the business of the unfortunate rural folk. Initially observing from the 2010 Ministry of Tourism Trade and Industry (MTTI), Uganda Commodity Exchange (UCE), I-Network and farmer cooperatives meeting in Kasese, I-Network’s Okoti Boroa noted that farmers had to be sensitised and shown the urgency of moving away from basic subsistence farming to knowledge-based commercial farming systems or face extinction.
The Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, says that the government is to blame for the perceived failure of the willing buyer, willing seller land reform policy.
Hanekom, who is also the former minister of agriculture and land affairs, has been quoted as saying that the government did not understand the land reform process.
However, the farmers that Zimbabwe-like land grabs will not happen in South Africa.