Small-scale farmers beating the odds to ensure food security

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    The amount of harvest and the processes thereof are still in progress and it is said that there are encouraging signs that hunger will be partially addressed.

    Small-scale farmers in the Mopani district are said to to be producing maize and other crops to feed their families despite the size of land they have to farm on.

    Farmers at Balloon, Calais, Madeira, Mahlomelong and Sedwana villages outside Hoedspruit farm on pieces of land that are barely less than five hectares in size each year regardless of the lack of implements to prepare the land, inadequate rain to allow planting and for the required growth of the crops.

    The aforementioned coupled with continuous incidents of harmful pests and diseases are but a few of the prevailing difficulties which they cope with just to ensure food security amongst their rural populations.

    This is said to compromise production because the farmers lack the necessary resources to help them overcome the pest and diseases problem.

    Farmers are taken through trainings on adoptaion of sound production practices, interactions with role players in the maize industry and millers in the industry to list but a few, in order to get inputs towards ensuring a better outcome in the future.

    “One should always harvest more than what he or she has sown. Our 2018/19 maize producer communities will however have something to their stomachs” explained Caswell Nkuna, an Extension officer responsible for Sedawa farming area. Maize is said to be packaged in 80kg bags and taken to milling companies like Phakathi and Blinkwater outside Tzaneen, where they are exchanged or sold off in some instances to generate some income in order to meet other requirements and needs.

    As depots of such companies are a little bit far from the producer villages, sub-stations within the villages are in place to simplify mealie mealie collections.The Limpopo Department of Land and Rural Development through its Extension services, together with a seed company, has planted a winter maize project to determine the effectiveness of the much trouble some Fall Army worm at Sofaya village and to date lessons as to how some cultivars are more prone to Fall Army worm are being observed.

    In a statement released by John Mthembi from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, he stated that given the encouraging outcome of all committed role players in efforts towards ensuring that rural people are food secure in their homesteads, one might sometimes conclude that it is not always the size of the land alone that matters most in production.