“I never imagined that I would co-own a farming company someday.” These were Nancy Madzinga’s words, a 23-year-old resident of Video Informal Settlement.
Madzinga was speaking at a ceremony where the Thusanang Vegetables Farming Cooperative, of which she is a member, received a sizable farm from the Gauteng Provincial Government. The World Food Day Commemoration fell on the same day as this handover. On Tuesday, the event took place at Umnotho for Empowerment, a Non-Profit Organisation, in Video Informal Settlement in Muldersdrift.
“I am very pleased today to be a member of this registered cooperative and awaiting certificate,” she exclaimed. “We are pleased as a cooperative to be able to provide vegetables to large food chains and the local community. Since there is a high rate of unemployment in our community, we would also like to create jobs and give people the tools they need to start more cooperatives in order to end poverty.”
“We are grateful to both Gauteng Departments of Social Development and Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with Umnotho for giving us space. We also extend our gratitude to the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller for the information they afforded us. We did not know that there are different grants assigned to township businesses and we are going to utilise opportunities brought by our government,” added Madzinga.
World Food Day is celebrated on October 16 each year. More than 150 nations come together on this day to spread awareness of the problems associated with hunger and poverty.
Food security and nutrition were found to be some of the major issues facing this community, according to a household survey carried out in Muldersdrift by the Gauteng Department of Social Development.
This resulted in the establishment of a Community Nutrition Development Center (CNDC). The center is a collaboration between the Gauteng Departments of Social Development, Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Umntho for Empowerment, which is funded by Social Development. The center run by Umnotho opened on July 18, 2022, and it serves nutritious meals to disadvantaged community members five days a week.
“The organization together with the beneficiaries of the CNDC saw a need to establish a vegetable garden and they formed a cooperative. The beneficiaries will take ownership of the project and will be able to generate income to improve their livelihoods as they will be able to sell those vegetables. We are encouraging this community to establish more cooperatives so that we win the fight against poverty,” said Community Development Supervisor, Simonitta Leeu.