Smallholder Farmer Support Programme (Abalimi Phambili Programme) Project
Partner name: Lima Rural Development Foundation
Project name: Smallholder Farmer Support Programme (Abalimi Phambili Programme)
Funding round: CFP 1
Funding: Jobs Fund grant R20 109 208
Matched Funding R6 047 000
Window: Enterprise development
Location: Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Partners: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Problem statement:
On the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, a previously state-owned timber plantation, capable of generating sustainable jobs and income, was lying idle and smallholder farmers were struggling to turn the land into viable farming enterprises. Small-scale farmers in rural areas are isolated from input and produce markets, as well as production information, reliable contractors and credit facilities. Stiff competition from their commercial counterparts is an added challenge. Of the 36 000 hectares of forestry plantation, 26 000 hectares has been poorly managed and is unsustainable in its current form. This land requires proper management to make it productive.
The Lima Rural Development Foundation provides a sustainable and integrated rural development service to many urban and rural communities through the establishment of appropriate institutions, local economic development and training to empower rural people, particularly women, in their own development efforts to overcome poverty. The Smallholder Farmer Support Programme aims to create an economically sustainable community enterprise supported by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The Tembe Mbila Mabaso Development Trust has established a project implementing entity, TMM (Pty) Ltd, which will take over the forestry business from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to convert it into a functional asset by bringing it back into full productivity.
Established in 2003, the Abalimi Phambili Programme, meaning “farmers first”, provides support to smallholder farmers in rural communities. The aim of the programme is to link farmers to well-developed markets, thus improving productivity, substantially reducing business transaction costs and increasing farm turnover. The project engages with about 8 000 small-scale farmers across the 10 sites, which have resources available to them for food production but face major difficulties in terms of breaking into the agricultural value chain. Facilitation and training will improve the returns that farmers receive from their enterprises. Once this is achieved, idle land, labour and water resources can be employed to have a substantial impact on local gross domestic product. Farm turnover for all participating farm is expected to improve by R240 million in the three-year project cycle.
Expected results:
New permanent jobs 8 000
New short-term jobs 55
Training completed 10 000