Seedlings for Farmers and ECD/HBC Centers.
Food Resilience: Seedlings for Farmers
During COVID, Africa Foundation implemented a wide-scale food relief initiative in South Africa. Regional teams used preschools to distribute food parcels, identifying the most vulnerable households in each community to receive the parcels. Identification criteria included families who were not formally registered with the government, and therefore could not access government-related assistance, families headed by children, and families with members with disabilities. Africa Foundation collaborated with government bodies, schools and preschools, community leaders, and others to assist thousands of families in South Africa to feed themselves in a devastating time. While food parcels were necessary to prevent many households from descending into poverty and starvation, an important element of Africa Foundation’s ethos is sustainable support and building long term community resilience to shocks. In Mpumalanga, it was decided that this was an opportunity to support the development of vegetable gardens at homes and creches. Packets of vegetable seeds were included in food parcels, with nearly 350 households from communities in rural Mpumalanga receiving a batch.
The seed support provided to creches in Mpumalanga during COVID was effective in helping families to grow their own food, and now Africa Foundation is aiming to provide this assistance farmers too. Farmers in Mpumalanga have been experiences low yields of crops, and the reason for this has been identified as low-quality seeds, and harsh elements. To address this issue, high quality seeds that are also relatively drought resistant, as well as shade-cloths to protect crops from the sun, will be distributed to farmers identified in the communities in which Africa Foundation works in Mpumalanga. Farmers to be supported include those who grow crops for their own consumption, as well as farmers who grow crops to sell to the wider community. Africa Foundation also proposed to further assist Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers and Home-Based Care (HBC) centers in Mpumalanga to plant and grow their own vegetable gardens to facilitate sustainable food security. The kind of support given will depend on factors such as land, availability of boreholes etc, but AF intends to initially support 50 farmers, 17 ECD centers, and 8 HBC centers in Mpumalanga to grow vegetable gardens.
To support 50 farmers, 17 ECD centers and 8 HBC centers in MPU with seeds, shade-cloths, instructional material, and assistance with planting will cost $15,000.