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Tackling Rural Poverty Through Gardening

Kumnandi means “it’s good” or “delicious” in Zulu and the KwaZulu-Natal organic, fresh produce brand is living up to its name as it helps alleviate rural poverty by creating hundreds of home gardens that provide families with food security, market profits and much needed social development.

The brand is supported by NPO Siyavuna that trains families in the rural communities in the Ugu district to grow organic fruit and vegetables.

There are approximately 600 smallholder farmers in the programme, of which 84% are women. These farmers feed themselves and their families first and then sell excess produce on a weekly basis. The produce is then sold in urban areas under the Kumnandi brand.

“Kumnandi is becoming a household name and most of our customers buy the brand because of the social upliftment story behind it. Some of our customers are also focused on the fact that the produce is organically grown,” says Siyavuna director Diane Pieters.

Trained to produce organically, farmers are monitored through a participatory guarantee system, or PGS, which provides an affordable alternative to expensive third party certification. PGS revolves around transparency, trust, peer review and knowledge sharing, and relies on a group of people from the community, such as farmers, retailers and consumers, to go and inspect farms.

Cecilia Schubert

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