In South Africa, only 10% of the R60 Billion horticulture industry is made up of black smallholder farmers and the South African agriculture sector contributes to only 10% of formal employment.
The South African agriculture sector is one of the mainstays of the country’s economy and offers various opportunities for both large commercial and emerging farmers in areas, such as capital investment, training, and supply of equipment and services.
The South African population is expected to reach 82 million by 2035. Food production must double to feed the expanding population, and production needs to increase using the same or fewer natural resources. Naturally, there is a huge demand for food crops from the consumer side and this is about to change for Johannesburg black farmers - All through our ‘Urban Agriculture Programme’.
United Way South Africa has looked into this and our goal is to connect low income South African urban farmers to sustainable economic opportunities. We have implemented a more holistic intervention in order to create an ecosystem of excellence around the farmer, in that;
We have identified cooperatives and small/micro businesses that are currently being trained in agriculture and business skills in order to (1) create sustainable businesses that feed into the city’s economy, (2) Create stable incomes for co-op and small/micro business owners, (3) Create employment opportunities for community members, and (4) address the issue of food security within the region.
On 13th November 2017, United Way Started the farmer induction processes in all regions of the City of Johannesburg. The purpose of the induction was to align the farmers to the Urban Agriculture programme and prepare them for their first training which commenced on the 20th November 2017. The training focused on the financial management module and targeted 40 individual farmers representing 40 cooperatives in the region of the City of Johannesburg.
The Urban Agriculture Training has expanded and this 2018, we look forward to training over 215 individual farmers – providing them with all the training they need in order to be successful sustainable farmers.