Making the African rural farming economy more sustainable and profitable

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Sindisa Mramba is the winner of the 2021 Blog4Dev competition for South Africa Sindisa Mramba is the winner of the 2021 Blog4Dev competition for South Africa

This is one of 38 winning blogs from the 2021 Blog4Dev competition, an annual World Bank Africa writing contest inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development. Blog4Dev winners responded to the question: How can young people work with their governments and civil society organizations to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system? 

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has resulted in problems that affect people globally on various fronts, and the socio-economic disparities between the global north and Africa have been made prominent amidst the pandemic. One such problem that is faced by a significant portion of the Sub-Saharan African population is food insecurity as millions of households experience hunger. The region’s high levels of inequality further exacerbate the issue of access to food for a large part of the Sub-Saharan African population who lack the means to purchase or produce food to feed themselves, their families, and their communities. 

My proposed solution to this prevalent issue is the implementation of community-based farming initiatives which could be enacted collaboratively between young people, civil society organizations, and the government. Community members would acquire farming and agriculture business management skills to help more individuals feed their families while earning an income on the surplus crop yield and employing other members of their communities. This program will deal with food security, poverty, and inequality issues in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

The community-based farming initiative would partner with foundations such as the Lima Rural Development Foundation which promotes sustainable and transformative community growth. The foundation supports smallholder farmers—such as the ones I would like to help gain access to the formal, commercial agriculture sector—with relevant training, assists with issues including fencing, irrigation and poultry houses, and offers the services of highly-skilled agricultural engineers to advise members of communities with creating and sustaining these small-scale farms. 

Growing smallholder farmer economies is already part of some government’s agricultural policies, which aim to create more diverse structures of production and build efficient and internationally competitive agricultural sectors with hopes to see a significant increase in smaller farming enterprises. If policies that address the issues above are implemented, then this farming initiative will be able to help smallholder farmers have access to a distribution channel that includes supermarkets who purchase vegetation from them among other consumers in the market and thereby make them more profitable while being able to feed themselves. 

The initiative would source and supply eco-friendly infrastructure that can allow community members to begin their own farming in their very own arable land such as hydroponic home systems that allow to use water efficiently and recycle for communities that do not have adequate access to water. These hydroponic home farming systems, if combined with other irrigation systems provided by civil society organizations like the Lima Rural Development Foundation, could assist with responsible use of water supply and offer expertise in grey water treatment. Such efforts would maximize the use of all available water resources which can often be scarce in the communities this initiative is designed for. 

Sindisa Mramba is the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from South Africa. See the full list of 2021 Blog4Dev winners here, and read their blog posts. 


Sindisa Mramba

Sindisa Mramba is the winner of the 2021 Blog4Dev competition for South Africa

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