The Nwanedi Cooperative, which ploughs butternut was formed when 12 different small cooperatives came together and, as a collective, received R494 285 financial support from the NYDA to use towards transport to the market after harvesting. The funds also contributed towards the costs associated with electricity, labour, production and renting of a tractor. The project targeted small farms that are operated by three or more young people and are operating from 2 – 15 hectares per farm.
“The agreement that we have with the Limpopo agriculture department is that these young farmers who were assisted by the NYDA will have access to services and programmes of this department in order to improve their production capacity. The harvest from these farms will be pulled together and marketed in a pool in order to address the challenge of market access by small scale farmers,” said Khathu Ramukumba, CEO of the NYDA.
Another cooperative which has been running successfully is the Marula Cooperative which is located in Thohoyandou. Since its establishment the cooperative has created over 100 jobs thanks to the NYDA which injected a boost of R1.2 million to the project. Marula Coop manufactures cooking oil and beauty products such as lotions and soaps from Marula plant extracts. The cooperative is run by 30 young people who belong to six different cooperatives who have come together to work on this project.
“We are trying to address the problem of small farm inefficiencies which often see young inexperienced farmers struggle to keep business afloat due to relatively high input costs as compared to profits. This is a form of addressing youth unemployment challenges and reaching out to the youth in rural areas who often feel neglected in terms of availability of opportunities. We are on a mission to enable rural youth to take control of their futures. These young people from these co-operates represent the youth that have received a hand-up and have used it to invest in their futures and in turn their communities,” concludes Ramukumba.