KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC, Ravi Pillay has expressed confidence that the province’s One Home One Garden programme could spark the revival of the spirit of agriculture across communities in the province.
Speaking in Dambuza, outside Pietermaritzburg during the district launch of the programme Pillay said he believes this initiative will inspire thousands of households to establish their home gardens something which will contribute greatly to food and nutrition security.
A total of 1600 households across uMgungundlovu District will be direct beneficiaries of the programme and will thus receive production inputs such as fertilizer, seeds and implements. “Here in Msunduzi there are 310 of these homes that are beneficiaries and today we launching the first ten gardens and then it will roll out,” said MEC Pillay speaking in his capacity as district champion.
The programme forms part of the provincial government’s support to the vulnerable, most of whom have been at the receiving end of the economic crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.
MEC Pillay, said providing support to the vulnerable forms part of the four main pillars of government’s response to Covid-19. The vulnerable include people who have been laid off work, put on short time or unpaid leave, casual workers and those in the informal sector.
“There is a big basket of citizens who are declared vulnerable and that is why we have all the relief such as the top off on the grants, the special grants and the food relief programmes. But over and above that linking the relief with economic activity is this type of One Home One Garden Programme”
He added: “This garden will not only feed this family. Handled properly they could generate a surplus to sell to neighbours and if it is replicated many times over then the cumulative effect of it will be significant."
MEC Pillay emphasized that even without Covid-19, the One Home One Garden remains an important initiative given its potential to revive agriculture in the province.
The district launch was attended by Speaker of Msunduzi Municipality Cllr Eunice Majola-Zondi, Mayor of uMshwathi Municipality Cllr Mandla Zondi and the Mayor of Mooi Mpofana Cllr Xolani Duma.
MEC Pillay visited two of the ten households where he handed over Water storage tanks, seedlings, fertilizer and implements such as watering cans, garden fork and a hoe. In a demonstration helped in the planting of fruit trees and vegetables seedlings.
An unemployed mother, Delisile Mbhele expressed gratitude saying she would not only produce vegetables for her own consumption but is hoping that she can sell the surplus to other people so as to make ends meet.
Another beneficiary, 26-year-old Philile Nsele said she believed her new garden would help her to put food on the table for her sister and child. While she has never done gardening before she remained optimistic that she will have good produce soon.
Zibusiso Dlamini, the Chief Director for Agricultural Services at the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said, through the programme, the government wants to encourage people to take food production into their own hands.
“This is a provincial programme and we have allocated almost R10 million towards rolling it. At the technical level we will be availing our extension and advisory services. We have committed ourselves that we should be able to come back to these communities in six months and see progress,” Dlamini said.