SEDCO, World Vi­sion em­power lo­cal farm­ers

Swazi Observer - - BUSINESS - By Ma­jaha Nkonyane

SMALL En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Com­pany (SEDCO) and World Vi­sion Swazi­land have joined hands in em­pow­er­ing lo­cal farm­ers.

This was through the South­ern Africa Liveli­hoods Project (SALP) train­ing that was hosted in Manzini.

“The South­ern Africa Liveli­hoods Project (SALP) is be­ing im­ple­mented against a back­ground of re­duced food se­cu­rity and ero­sion of house­holds’ as­sets and safety nets as a re­sult of the El Nino drought ex­pe­ri­enced in the 2015-16 grow­ing sea­son. Many house­holds had to rely on emer­gency as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing food, and lost pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of their land and an­i­mals that were an in­te­gral part of their food se­cu­rity sys­tem,” SEDCO Stake­holder Man­ager Mx­olisi Dlamini said.

The project, ac­cord­ing to Dlamini, was meant to in­crease and di­ver­sify lev­els of con­trol and pro­duc­tiv­ity among 507 house­holds and farm­ers as­sum­ing five mem­ber house­holds and vul­ner­a­ble small-holder farm­ers in Swazi­land, Le­sotho and South Africa over the next two years.

This will be done through im­ple­men­ta­tion of in­ter­ven­tions geared to­wards shift­ing farmer pro­duc­tion from sub­sis­tence level to greater mar­ket ori­ented pro­duc­tion. The pro­gramme is funded by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade (DFAT), as a pilot project as­sist­ing three coun­tries at once and con­stant mon­i­tor­ing shall be a pre­req­ui­site.

“SALP will tar­get the de­vel­op­ment of four lo­cal value chains, namely: veg­eta­bles, pig­gery, indige­nous chicken and bee­keep­ing. All farm­ers have ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture, in­come sources for house­holds di­ver­si­fied at their dis­posal,” he said. It was fur­ther noted that SEDCO be­ing a part­ner to World Vi­sion Swazi­land, shall fo­cus mainly on pro­vi­sion of coach­ing and men­tor­ing as well as train­ing on LVCD. The pro­gramme is also meant to add value to prod­ucts, im­prove in­clu­sive ac­cess to fi­nan­cial ser­vices, im­prove busi­ness prac­tices and be­hav­iours and im­prove ac­cess to mar­kets.

The project tar­gets small-holder farm­ers in veg­etable pro­duc­tion, pig­gery, indige­nous poul­try and bee­keep­ing and is in­clu­sive of peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties (PLWD), women and men.

Fur­ther­more, the project does not pro­vide in­put grants but rather ca­pac­ity build­ing and in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment.

Farm­ers shall be re­ferred to fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions for fi­nanc­ing and train­ing on fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy.

BIG GROUP: The par­tic­i­pants pos­ing for a photo af­ter be­ing awarded with cer­tifi­cates in Manzini.

AT­TEN­TIVE: Farm­ers lis­ten­ing to one of the speak­ers dur­ing the event.

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