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When project members at the Phulisnani Project in the Eastern Cape shared their challenges faced over the recent months Heifer International South Africa (Heifer) saw a need for intervention. Project members were experiencing a slow progress in the growth of vegetable gardens which has restricted the sale of vegetables. Heifer has recognized a need to construct manual boreholes within the area. The high cost involved in sourcing and purchasing seedlings from towns nearby, harsh water shortages combined with draughts has impacted negatively on the livelihood structures of the community.
The local municipality has rolled out a door to door water can delivery service providing households with a restricted amount of water supply to capacitate the recent water shortages, efforts are nominal. Heifer saw a need to get involved, as a means to combat the water shortages and the challenges experienced by the community towards generating income.
In the recent months Heifer together with the community of Phulisinani, have been involved in constructing mini-hubs with an agro-store and market-place, providing the farmers with infrastructure linked to vegetable production and access to formal markets to project members at the Phulisanani Project in the Eastern Cape Province.
The Phulisanani Project is located near the town of Alice in the Nkonkobe Local Municipality, Amatole District, Eastern Cape Province. The project started in July 2012 with 402 members. All project participants have been equipped with appropriate knowledge and skills for sustainable development. All members have been trained in vegetable production, livestock management, HIV, basic business skills and Heifers Cornerstones. During the past year, 402 families are currently eating vegetables from their home gardens and 312 from the Passing on the Gift group have started with home based gardening. Thirteen mini-nurseries have been constructed and on average 3 types of seedlings are produced per mini-nursery every month. Five mini-nurseries for the Passing on the Gift group have been constructed and completed.
If we can help increase the productivity of these small farms, our farmers will be the ones feeding South Africa. But these small-scale farmers need support in more areas than just on their land. That's why we work to provide access to education, improved sanitation, better water sources—things that will provide better health, more income and, ultimately, a clearer path out of poverty.
It's easier than you think to create incredible positive change in the world. We've seen significant strides made in ending hunger and poverty just in the last 15 years. And research shows that when investments are made in the world's 2.6 billion small-scale farmers, agriculture can make twice the impact on poverty as growth in other areas.