Women in Agri Project Puts first poles in the ground
The gravel road between Keimoes and Upington unfolds unto the lush, green oasis of Eksteenskuil in the Northern Cape. Here, a group of small-scale farmers have created a vibrant agricultural community through hard work and planning.
The program endeavours to provide women with the necessary management skills and viticulture and financial know-how to become self-sustaining and profitable farmers. The project plants the first of many hectares!
Many of the plots in Eksteenskuil are farmed by women that do not always get recognition. Eksteenskuil Small-scale Women in Agri Farmers got a grant from Carpe Diem group and Raisins SA to finance the planting of 3.5ha of new vines for three women and upgrading of drying facilities for four women. The project plants the first of many hectares today! Eksteenskuil co-op has supported women with this process with projects being led by Raisins SA and Carpe Diem’s technical team as well.
Each process was signed off by the technical team, from soil prep to the planting of poles. Raisins SA and Carpe Diem also provided the project with planting training prior to planting to ensure success of the project and empower the locals of Eksteenskuil.
Women’s Project Plant training
Raisins SA and Carpe Diem Raisins are both mentors to the Women’s project and had a technical session at Eksteenskuil. The outcome of the session was to theoretically discuss the planting of a vine as well as the practical implementation of the planting of a vine. Bradwin Lester & JP Bence took the lead in the session. Bradwin Lester did a presentation on the theoretical side of planting and JP Bence handled the practical planting of a vine. The day was attended by 25 farm workers & officials from the Department of Agriculture which found the day very insightful. The cultivars planted by the three women are Selma Pete and Merbein Seedless.
Eksteenskuil Raisin Incubator Project
The Eksteenskuil Raisin Incubator Project will address the above challenges through a comprehensive farmer incubation system. The Eksteenskuil Cooperative aims to develop 55 farmers through a Raisin Incubator program which it will support with technical aspects, market access & management, administration, financial advice, farmer developmental training, logistics as well as institutional support to become profitable production units. The incubation of these 55 units will make use of 200 hectares of land owned by incubates.
The ultimate objective of the project is to stimulate economic growth in the agricultural sector by creating a more competiveness environment, using small and emerging farmers as the mechanism for the growth. The knock on effect of this is sustainable jobs and better livelihood for the people of Northern Cape which is one of the most impoverished areas.
Department of agriculture planted 41.08 hectares from 2012 – 2016. The EU planted 3 hectares in 2009. The NDA planted 17.4 wine grapes in 2010. The Jobs Fund project planted 222 hectares from 2013 to 2016. The Jobs Fund plantings will produce 1300 – 1400 tons of raisins. The Jobs Fund project was funded by Jobs Fund and IDC.