As the country continues to operate under lockdown, the economy remains strained and the demand for more quality food continues to rise. This has left farmers devastated as challenges and pressure keeps rising while farming conditions have not improved.
Fortunately, for Ubumbano farmer’s cooperatives, a group of local farmers in the Alfred DumaMunicipality, South Africa’s leading construction materials producer, AfriSam, came to their rescue, purchasing a brand new Massey Fergurson 4 wheel drive, 55kw tractor and farming implements to boost farm productivity and help them meet the rising food demand.
The handover by Honourable Mayor His worship Cllr Vincent Madlala to the local beneficiaries took place at the Steadville, Ward 9 in the Alfred Duma Municipality. In attendance was the Alfred Duma Local Economic development manager, Mr B Xaba, AfriSam representatives and local community members.
“We are grateful for what AfriSam has done for our community. This donation will help create more job opportunities for local people and alleviate poverty. The tractor speeds up farming and enables us to cut long grass and keep our area safe and clean”, says Mr G Hlubi, Ubumbano Cooperative beneficiary.
“At AfriSam, our aim is to create concrete opportunities for our people by making sustainable contributions towards the communities surrounding our operations. With this donation, we hope that farmers will be able to meet food demand and satisfy consumers changing taste and expectations” ,says Mr K Singh, AfriSam Acting Regional Manager.
The project was identified through consultations with the Alfred Duma Municipality as well as community leaders as part of AfriSam’s Social Responsibility to uplift areas deeply affected by poverty. The brand-new tractor and farming implements were purchased from a local supplier, as part of the company’s contribution to the KwaZulu Natal local economic development.
AfriSam’s engagement with Ubumbano co-ops was inspired by the fact that farmers had taken it upon themselves and begun to work using their own hands due to lack of equipment. Though the equipment was given to the co-operatives; it is meant to benefit the entire area of Ladysmith.
The Ubumbano Co-op in Steadville supplies food to areas as far as Bergville. AfriSam saw great potential, plus the need to uplift the farmers reach even greater heights.
South Africa’s farming sector is one of the world’s most diverse, consisting of corporate and private intensive and extensive crop farming systems, including vegetable, fruit, nuts, and grain production. Commercial farming is the backbone of our agricultural economy. ‘We encourage farmers to adapt and learn new technologies, to stay resilient against global economic factors. Furthermore, we urge more women and young people to join farming and link with commercial farmers and learn as this sector is critical to the development and success of South Africa’, Singh concluded.