“The story for us started in 2015 when there was a national drought that crippled everything”, says Nomzamo Kheswa. She is the head of the Siyazisiza Trust, an organization established in 1987 to support small-scale farmers in improving their livelihoods, food security and the environment. South Africa is already severely impacted by droughts. In the coming years, they are projected to become even more frequent due to climate change. Small-scale farmers like Phumzile Ntuli are suffering from prolonged droughts as their crops and fruits are not growing. Butternuts, which she and other members of the Qalekhaya Cooperative are usually harvesting around October and selling at markets until January, simply did not survive the excessive heat this year.
Under the uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership, Local Good Agricultural Practices (LocalG.A.P.) trainings were conducted to eight members of the Syazisiza Trust, certifying them as GlobalG.A.P. Farm Assurers. With the knowledge gained, they were able to train 50 local small-scale farmers from the uMhlathuze Catchment in LocalG.A.P. best practices.
The trainings enable farmers to improve their water management and to achieve better harvests, while also strengthening their economic position, as the certification opens up markets for them.