Thanks to a partnership between RCL FOODS, Lima Rural Development Foundation and the Jobs Fund, the Nkomazi region of Mpumalanga has benefited from an exciting initiative to develop small vegetable farmers, boost food security and improve people’s lives.
Many smallholder farmers have limited access to services, are far from suppliers and markets, struggle to afford quality inputs like seed and fertiliser and face stiff market competition from larger commercial producers. And yet they can potentially supply high-quality, locally-produced food that is affordable to more people, is locally accessible and creates jobs.
The project model is to provide technical support for farmers, develop agro-processing opportunities, provide affordable credit support, facilitate better market access and business linkages and in the process, create more jobs. There is also a strong nutritional education focus, which ties in with RCL FOODS’ two-pronged CSI strategy of community development and food security.
In an effort to support the establishment of markets for the vegetable growers, RCL FOODS has launched a Do Good Market in their new OKWETHU Farm Staff shop in Malalane, where freshly-picked, attractively packed vegetables – including cabbages, spinach, spring onions, herbs, green beans, carrots and beetroot – will be supplied by the farmers.
Having access to this guaranteed market linkage is encouraging beneficiaries to produce larger quantities of vegetables as cash will be generated and they will have a consistent demand. The Do Good Market is providing a life-changing experience to the local farmers.
“This project is an important example of what can be achieved when business, NGOs, Government and the community form partnerships to create positive, sustainable change. As RCL FOODS we see our role primarily as that of a catalyst in bringing parties together, paving the way for a far bigger impact than we can achieve on our own. Our people play a vital role in this – and the Do Good Market is one way they can tangibly support the local community,” says Warren Farrer, RCL FOODS’ Group CSI Executive.
This is the second Do Good Market being launched by RCL FOODS, the first one being situated at their head office at 10 The Boulevard, Westside Office Park in Westville, Durban.
“By providing smallholder farmers with access to markets, information, services and credit, we can sustainably bring more food to more people, more often – and raise people’s standard of living in the process. It’s a win-win situation,” says Farrer.
The RCL FOODS Okwethu Farm Shop, where the Do Good Market is located, is open from Monday to Friday from 7:30am – 16:30pm and on Saturdays from 7:30am – 12 noon. Card facilities are available. For more pictures and feedback on the Do Good Market and RCL FOODS’ other CSI initiatives, visit the RCL FOODS CSI Facebook page.