Since the beginning of 2017 the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation supports the work of the Bulungula Incubator with the implementation of their project the “Bulungula Center for excellent Small-Scale Agriculture” located at the Wild Cost in South Africa. The center was founded in order to provide the local inhabitants with know-how, training and technological support. The declared goal is that the farmers are able to grow food for their own domestic purposes and to sell. Even though sufficient land for farming is available, most of the consumed vegetables need to be “imported” from different regions in South Africa. This is due to the historical background of South Africa and an agriculture that is dominated by big plantation farmers (a detailed report on the background of the project and our visit in the beginning of year can be found here).
The implementation of the center is under way and the planned seedling nursery could be completed ahead of schedule. The linked sales of the vegetable seedlings is going well and so far 10,000 seedlings are sold per month and the number is steadily increasing. The seedlings are sold at a fair price to local farmers which otherwise had to cover long distances to buy expensive seedlings. The sold types are: cabbage, spinach, beetroot, onion, egg plant, tomato, pepperdews (a local sweet and picante pepper), chillis, passion fruit, papaya, potatoes and broccoli. During the sales locally-unknown vegetables are given out as samples, such as egg plant, in order to introduce the farmers to new sorts.
Through the support by the foundation a variety of agriculture supplies could be bought for the center. These include the needed materials for irrigation systems, various types of pipes and water pumps, as well as environmentally friendly pesticides and fertilizer. The first demonstration irrigated vegetable field has been prepared and planted successfully with test crops with conventional techniques. A second irrigation field is currently being prepared for an organic demonstration plot. The linked work is carried out by five new permanent employees with the support of an expert volunteer from Germany, who lives in the new built hut for volunteers now.
In order to reach many people in the region they hold a monthly open Farmers Day, where training and advice is provided to the local farmers or those that want to start farming. Here they have the possibly to participate in practical demonstrations on how to install irrigations systems, how to manage pests and fertitilty challenges and receive simple solutions to common challenges as there have been battles with pests and other challenges in the past. Through the establishment of a point to go, many farmers are feeling optimistic about the future, as the center has made it dramatically easier and cheaper to be farmers.
The center has finally received a name and has been named in the local language Xhosa: “Masilime Ngo!” which means “Let’s farm excellently!”