Small Scale Farmers eradicating poverty and extreme hunger through Agriculture in Soweto, South Africa

UNDP in South Africa and Tokyo collaborated on a project to fight poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in Ward 21, Soweto in South Africa.  Ward 21 in Soweto has a population that of 27 867 with about 4265 Household. The unemployment rate is estimated at 120%. The UNDP poverty alleviation project focuses on the following:

  • expanding the agricultural land by using roll planter,
  • Increasing income of small scale farmers, by decreasing the use of water for agriculture and increasing the productivity by utilizing drip irrigation system.
  • eliminating food shortage by increasing yield of crops.
  • employing more people in agriculture by expanding farm lands

With only 12 percent of productive land, South Africa requires annotative ways of increasing productivity in unproductive land to meet its own demands and regional expectations and obligations with regard to food security and fighting hunger.

Agriculture is critical to food security and subsistence and small scale farmers play an important role in addressing food security, malnutrition, poverty, and hunger consequently contributing to achievement of Millennium Development Goal.

The project is operating in an old unused primary school. A community co-operative with the support from UNDP prepared a piece of barren land and turned it into a productive land, using the polylactic acid sand tube roll planters. This technology has been used by Toray and Mitsukawa and succeeded in rehabilitating desert lands in Gansu, Inner Mongolia, China.  These two companies have also developed PLA roll planter system to grow crops on concrete surface in Japan.  Picture below shows co-operative members preparing the ground and PLA roll planters to be used for planting vegetables.


Impact: The cooperative has about 9 members from different households; therefore more than 9 household’s food security situations have been improved by the project. From time to time members of the surrounding community often come to the project to requests for vegetables and the co-operative do provide vegetables to community members in need. The co-operative is engaging the local government with a request to access a big piece of land so that they can meet capacity requirement for being reliable and consistent suppliers to retail supermarkets. UNDP is planning to replicate the model in other parts of the countries to contribute in order to improve food security at household level where the projects will operate. The project will also create permanent and seasonal jobs. Below are some of the produce of the project.

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