The harvesting of the first maize crop of the joint agricultural project that was undertaken by AfriForum, Pioneer, Saai, Agri All Africa (AaA), the Boiphitlhelelo Co-operative and Purposely Ignited started today. This follows after the role-players took hands with the Noga’s Post community in 2020 to support the community with this development project after the community successfully produced maize and vegetables during the previous planting season.
The Boiphitlhelelo Co-operative was established in 2017 to benefit from the one household, one hectare programme of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. 36 households originally joined the co-operative and under the leadership of Kgosatsana (Princess) Gabo Moroka, traditional leader of Noga’s Post, managed to plant, on own initiative, an additional 20 ha of maize and vegetables on top of the maize planted by the Department during the 2019/2020 planting season.
“First and foremost, to thank God for this harvest because it is through Him that we were able to succeed, amidst all the challenges faced along the way. One also appreciates and applauds all role-players involved. This was a collective effort. I believe from here on, we can only grow from strength to strength. What I do know is that the vision for development and self-sustenance I have for this community shall be achieved through partnerships such as these,” says Kgosatsana Gabo Moroka, Spokesperson of the Boiphitlhelelo Co-operative and traditional leader of the community.
“For Pioneer it is a privilege to be part of this project. The passion and commitment of the community is inspirational. We are glad that the donation of seed contributed to ensuring this harvest. The community has big dreams for the future and it is very rewarding to mentor such passionate people,” says Charles Matlou, Smallholder Farmer Development Manager at Pioneer Seed RSA.
“Here at Noga’s Post there are families that want to farm, and that is why we are involved with our implementation partner, Agri All Africa. Saai is a family farmer network that contributes to the support of people that want to be commercial farmers so that they can develop to be agriculturalists that create wealth for themselves and also contribute to food security,” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.
Agri All Africa is responsible for the operational management of the project and also coordinates the support provided by the commercial farmers of the area that act as mentors for the community members and also support with the supply and use of equipment.
Dirk Hanekom, CEO of Agri All Africa, says Psalm 65:9–13 comes to mind when thinking about this project: “You cared for the land and water it; and enrich it abundantly. The streams of God is filled with water to provide the people with grain, as you ordained it; the hills are clothed with gladness, the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.”
“Imagine how such a small harvest in commercial terms can inspire so many communities. Agri All Africa is privileged to be part of such a winning team,” says Hanekom.
“We are very thankful that we could start with the harvesting of the maize today. We experienced many challenges but with mercy from Above and the dedication of the community, local commercial farmers and the project partners we could overcome each challenge we faced. This project brings hope in a time when it is much needed and serves as proof of the success that is possible when different cultural communities and role-players from civil society and the commercial sector cooperate on the basis of mutual recognition and respect,” says Barend Uys, Head of Intercultural Cooperation at AfriForum.
Gerda Kotzé of Purposely Ignited provides support with the coordination of the various stakeholders, while Mike Bosch of Boschveld Free Range Chickens donated chickens to the co-operative. Lowveld Agrochem provided seed packs for the home vegetable gardens in the community and also supports the larger agricultural project with other means. The local Agrico branch in Bloemfontein contributed by designing the water reticulation and irrigation systems for the future expansion of the Boiphitlhelelo farming project.
“The community and the project partners have shown dedication and achieved success. We would like to invite individuals, organisations and companies that are inspired by this project and that would like to also get involved to make contact so that we can grow the project and ignite hope,” concludes Uys.