Your Veggies – Uplifting the Community

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Today I would like to share with you one of the many reasons why I decided to sell organic produce from my store. We have become a platform to help empower our local communities and build our nation. But it is thanks to all of you that we are able to do this. Remember when you buy organic produce not only are you feeding your family but you are feeding other families too. 

Many people ask where our organic produce comes from and so I would like to share with you one of our wonderful suppliers – Kumnandi. Siyavuna Development Centre (SDC) is a registered Non-Profit Organisation based in Ramsgate, on the South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.  Since inception more than 6 years ago, Siyavuna has trained and mentored more than 600 rural smallholder farmers to grow enough organic fruit and vegetables to feed themselves and to sell the surplus produce for income generation.

The organisation is currently employs 14 full time professional staff members, and is managed by Socio-Environmental Director, Sonja Pithey and governed by a representative Board, Chair by local business leader Mr Temba Zondi. 

The vision of the organization is expressed as “To empower rural organic farmers”.
Siyavuna’s mission is to train and mentor emerging organic farmers for food security, developing successful micro-enterprises through Farmer’s Associations and Co-operatives that market the produce under the Kumnandi brand. SDC implements a programme called Agri-SCIP (Sustainable Community Investment Programme), which tackles the inter-related challenges of poverty, food insecurity and low levels of economic participation. Adherence to Participatory Group System (PGS) for growing produce, results in ‘organic’ practices being adopted and farmers produce food of superior nutritional value.  In addition, the less harmful PGS system forbids the use of any chemicals and encourages small holder farmers to develop healthy eco-systems that are highly beneficial for the environment as well as the long term sustainability of their home garden. The SDC model relies on existing farmer and community networks. 

The Co-operative buys produce from farmers on a weekly basis, paying them cash on the spot for their produce and then selling it in urban areas under the Kumnandi brand. The fact that farmers have a guaranteed market in close proximity to their homes is a huge incentive for them as the biggest barrier they face is marketing their own produce. The profits go towards the farmer owned Co-operative enabling the farmers to develop a solid business that is sustainable in the long term. Siyavuna employ a team of mentors who work with farmers one-on-one, helping them to develop their farming skills and increase production and sales. You can visit the Siyavuna learning centre and organic shop at Shop 6, Sebenza Village, 1 National Road, Ramsgate, KwaZulu-Natal.

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