No mvula+No manzi =No mrholo

2018-02-08 06:00
Masikhulisane-Masincedane Vegetable Project secretary Lulama Jim using an ewer to irrigate their crops.     PHOTO: unathi obose

Masikhulisane-Masincedane Vegetable Project secretary Lulama Jim using an ewer to irrigate their crops. PHOTO: unathi obose

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The water situation in the Cape is so dire even emerging farmers are feeling the heat, so to speak.

Gugulethu gardeners say they are scared that their efforts at self-sustainability are crumbling in ruins because of the scarcity of water in the province.

Lulama Jim is the project secretary at Masikhulisane-Masincedane Vegetable Project.

For a project that began its life as a sewing and baking project, the prospects for its survival are not promising. And the founders have genuine concerns.

She said they are struggling to survive as their sole income from selling their vegetables is threatened.

Jim said their bad luck started two years ago, when the criminals vandalized their only source of water, their bore-hole.

“The criminals vandalised our bore-hole and the whole irrigation system was destroyed, making it difficult for us to water our garden.

We struggled since then, but the municipality assisted us with water. Initially, we were using hosepipes(to sprinkle water), but since there is this water crisis now, the City asked us to use watering cans.”

She added that the Department of Agriculture has assisted them by filling up the two Jojo Tanks for their irrigation.

Jim said they can’t manage to plough the whole garden because it’s too big and there is a shortage of water.

“Even those(vegetables) that we have already planted struggle to grow because drought.

Jim is making an appeal to the youth to take agriculture as a career when at varsity.

“We do need(the) youth to come on board... But our children don’t want agriculture. They don’t want to be dirty. They want to work in the offices,” she said.

She said her concern was that age is catching on them and there will be no one taking over the project when they retire.

“We are currently four members age between 47 and 79 year old,” said Jim.

“The project started 19 years ago by people who were sewing and baking here at the Fezeka Municipal offices. There were about 35 men and women.

This was after they spotted unused land inside the yard, they pleaded with officials to utilise the plot for gardening purposes and have never looked back, Jim offered.

Jim said she joined the project in 2010. She said there was only one surviving member from those who started the project.

Zakhele Msimango, a Senior Agricultural adviser for the project, has confirmed that the bore-hole pump was vandalised and assured them that it will be fixed.

Some of their products include cabbages, tomatoes, spinach and spring onions.

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