The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted once again the desperate need to address food security issues in rural communities across South Africa. As hard lockdown took its toll, the need for food security became all the more important. Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire (Pty) Ltd, (Bakwena), is proud of its various community projects along the N1N4 route that have made a considerable difference to community members’ lives.
One such project is the Eat What You Grow (EWYG) initiative, situated along the Bakwena route, which was successfully rolled out in 2020 in partnership with Zutari, Zutari CSI, CapaSity and Sakata Seed Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd and MayFord Seeds.
EWYG teaches people to grow their own vegetable gardens and in doing so create a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families. “No one in my family goes to bed hungry anymore,” says Buang Molefe (Majakaneng, North West), one of the project participants who boasts a garden full of pumpkin, spinach, peanuts, beans, cabbage and tomatoes.
“It is encouraging to note that through these partnerships, training and support, we have been able to make a difference and help communities during these difficult times” says Solomon Kganyago, Chief Operating Officer, Bakwena.
Individuals have taken ownership of their own lives and started to grow their gardens. “I now know how to plant my own vegetables and provide food for my family without spending money,” says Nomangesi Sobahle (Mooinooi, North West) a project participant that constructed her own gutter system to harvest rainwater for her garden during the rainy season.
The participants devised many innovative ideas to keep their crops safe. Participants used logs, wire, car parts and old building material to fence off their gardens and keep livestock from eating their vegetables.
A few individuals went a step further and decided to sell the
produce to local community members and in so doing, created an additional income stream for their families. Their stories are both humbling and heart-warming.
“At Zutari we co-create an engineered impact that enables communities to thrive,” says Amelia Visagie, Associate, Communication and Stakeholder Engagement at Zutari, “through this project we have witnessed how families have grown, become self-sustainable and create food security during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“Zutari works understand the unique challenges that affect our communities and engage with these communities in order to put together socio-economic impact programmes like EWYG. We believe in structured programmes that will have an impact even beyond our participation,” says Senzekile Mdluli, BBBEE & CSI Manager at Zutari.
Bakwena is confident that these community member’s enthusiasm and positivity towards this project will go a long way in assisting their communities to successfully uplift and transform the lives of people living along the N1N4 route.
MayFord Seeds owned by parent company Sakata Seed has long been established as a household name in South Africa as a quality supplier of vegetable, flower, herb and lawn seeds supplying the farming community with highly advanced Sakata branded professional vegetables, and consumers with the vast MayFord branded seed packet range, without doubt the most colourful brand in South Africa, famous for our “Grow your Own” campaign which ensures every family can create their own food garden. Through community projects like this we wish to uplift communities to not only enable them to grow healthy, nutritious vegetables for themselves but to also take pride in the ability to support themselves and their families. Proud sponsor and supporter of these excellent Bakwena initiatives! Paul Vonk, MayFord Commercial Manager.
“Bakwena remains committed to a programme of corporate social investment which supports and contributes to the development of communities along the Bakwena N1N4 Corridor. We do our best to generate maximum benefits for communities and our projects are managed accordingly, so we can make a difference every kilometre of the way” concludes Kganyago.