Last month ,I got a chance to visit the Abalimi Bezekhaya in cape town which means farmers of homes . Our tour guide around the home gardens in the various townships was Rob Small who is the Resource Mobilization for Abalimi. Rob was highly enthusiastic about abalimi (I’ll try to explain it but it’s much better to see face to face). Rob began with a brief explanation of when and why Abalimi was established .He said Abalimi was established in the eighties during apartheid aiming to empower black people through home farming. Rob is disappointed at who youth(emphasis on all over the world) look down on the profession of farming. He said in Africa ,lots of young people leave the farms in the villages to seek better lives in the city which leads to development of more shacks. The Abalimi farm in Guguletu township western cape we visited ,was a clear example of the movement of people he explained. Guguletu is at the border of cape town and the eastern cape(this is a rural province )and has many Xhosa speaking people .He also said that it’s mainly mamas(mothers) who are involved in home gardening while their husbands stand by the roadside waiting hopefully to be picked up for informal labour. Usually the husband return home with no money or food and still expect the mothers to put food on the table which they do. The mothers usually prepare pap(cooked yellow maize) with spinach sauce and sap(mix of beans).
The program supports currently over 3000 home farmers in different townships across cape town. Abalimi helps the farmers get large acres of land around in the different townships and the farmers rent the land for 200 rands each a year. Also Abalimi provides seedlings and seeds to the farmers at a very cheap price . The farming techniques the farmers are all organic. Pests like snails are handpicked or natural herbs are used. Also the water is got from underground by use of electric boreholes and stored in tanks. It’s the farmers responsibility to maintain the plants. Abalimi usually books the produce from the start when it s planted if the produce is of the right standard at the end ,Abalimi buys it. This is to give some sort of security to the farmers. If the produce isn’t Abalimi standard, the farmers can sell it over the fence(to friends and family).The farmers earn about 500 rands to 1000rands a month but could be earning up to 3000 rands minimum if they worked 8 hours a day.
The group visited three community gardens in Nyanga township, Phillipi township and Guguletu township. I also got this awesome book during the visit in the picture below. I’m going to use this book to hopefully attain some farming skills to impress my 85 year old grand ma who’s a peasant farmer when I return to Uganda.