Africare’s Rural Enterprises & Agricultural Development Project (REAP): briefing

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Meeting report

6 March 2001
Africare’s Rural Enterprises & Agricultural Development Project (REAP): briefing

Chairperson: Advocate S P Holomisa

Documents handed out:
Africare presentation document (See Appendix)

Africare, a non-governmental organisation established in 1971 by African Americans, is involved in improving the quality of life by encouraging self-reliance on agricultural production among Africa’s rural poor. The projects established by Africare in South Africa were described. They would like to improve relations with the South African government.

Africare Presentation
Ms Jones–Changa told the Committee that the organization is operating all over Africa and already has 150 programmes in South Africa. Their programmes are targeted mostly at the rural poor, although they do support some projects in urban areas. These programmes are community driven and this help to empower rural people with skills to ensure the sustainability of these programmes.

Another area of focus for Africare is democracy and governance. They are advocating and support the formation of a strong civil society which, according to them, is crucial for rural development. Agriculture and food security is their main service area for rural development.

Africare Endowment Fund
This is the programme that is responsible for raising funds for Africare’s humanitarian services. They have already given two awards to two of South Africa’s world reckoned leaders Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
The following are Africare’s current projects in South Africa:
1.South Africa Regional Adolescent Health Projects
·Concentrate on wealth creation which is crucial for youth upliftment
·Empowerment of communities and youth for Aids awareness programmes

2.Digital village project
These are the centers that provide training on information technology to previously disadvantaged communities.

3.Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development (REAP)
This project receives funding from the department of agriculture in the United States of America
It has five projects in South Africa aimed at the following:
Strengthening farmer’s organizations, extension services and promoting entrepreneurship among resource poor farmers

·They have produced a group of emerging farmers who presently export their produce the EU
·They have created farmer's co-operatives in Msinga district of Kwazulu-Natal. These cooperatives sell their produce industries in town.
·They have established provincial steering committees for these projects and they want to establish a national committee.
·They supported NAFU a farmer's organization to provide leadership and direction to farmers.
·They have formed partnerships with the university of Natal and Fort Hare to train extension officers, agents and workers

Agric–Business Development Fund
·Assist small–scale farmers with funds
·Assist the development of agro-processing cooperatives
·Monetization: this is the process of mobilizing funds for agric- business development

Benefits to resource poor farmers
·Training and capacity building
·Exposure to new technologies
·Links to international markets

In answer to questions by the committee, the following comments were made:
The monetisation concept refers to a process by which agricultural commodities are sold in the open market in South Africa. It is about the use of proceeds to support the agricultural development project for the rural poor.

The areas they work in were identified by the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs of South Africa.

Mr. Ditshetelo (UCDP) asked whether Africare has trained these farmers up to independent and sustainable level. Mrs Changa answered by saying that, there is a need for an integrated effort from government and non- governmental organizations, it is not possible with NGOs alone. Mrs. Changa also said that they do have the examples of farmers which are the product of their programmes. These farmers farm productively and sustainably, they sell to the local and international markets and they farm 200 hectares each.

Mr. Maphalala asked for the criteria used by Africare to select farmers for their support and also asked Africare to explain how they think government could support their projects and why. Mrs. Changa replied and said that they are an Independent organization that depends on donor funds, they do not generate funds themselves. In this regard Dr Schoeman (NNP) stated that the previous government supported  different projects in Taung, and these projects later fail. He said that cost and benefit analysis is needed before any project can be supported to avoid the past mistakes

Mr. Hanekom (ANC) warned that monetization by US government must be taken very cautiously, because
America's marketing approach is aggressive and can destroy farmers. He said that USA approach needs to be challenged and its monetization funds are dangerous. He further said that USA must not be used as the source of finance.

Ms Kasienyane (ANC) asked for clarity on what Mrs. Changa means when she was saying that monetization does not disrupt local markets. Mrs. Changa replied by saying that this concept has worked in other countries like Zambia. And she also explains that they have also used monetization funds in South Africa because they did not have other source to help farmers and they needed support.

Dr Van Niekerk supported Mr. Hanekom's statement about monetization , he said that  through this strategy USA surplus can be imported to South Africa. According Dr Van Niekerk this can cause disruption in agricultural markets. He further asked how did Africare conduct their aftercare services. A staff member from Africare answered by saying that they are working with the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs of South Africa's, universities and communities.

Mr. Maphalala (ANC)advised that Africare must assist farmers as owners rather than as workers to ensure the sustainability of these projects.

Mr. Ditshetelo (UCDP)asked whether Africare has made any incentives to motivate farmers to be sustainable, for example giving Awards to farmers. Mrs Changa replied by saying that they will give Awards to extension officers, universities that participated and to individual farmers. 

Presentation to the South African Parliament: Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs
Introduction and Word of Thanks
The Chairperson, Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs, Honorable Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of Africare, let me first thank you for this rare opportunity today to address this distinguished and esteemed group of individuals.  It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to stand before you and share with you Our Story, the story of Africare.

I am Phyllis Jones-Changa, the Africare Country Representative to South Africa.  I have brought along with me two of my staff members:  Eddy Mathonsi, our Program Development Officer and Russell Hawkins, our Project Director for the Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development Project or REAP.

I have spent 23 years working for the development of Africa, starting in Niger in 1978 and gradually working my way here to South Africa.  I am a public health specialist by academic training and a manager by plain old experience.

In the time that has been allotted to me, I would like to accomplish four things:
1) to tell the Africare story;
2) to share with you some of our current work here in South Africa;
3) to brief you on our work that specifically relates to the work of this committee on agricultural development; and
4) to present a particular strategy for leveraging resources for agricultural development:  monetization.
It is my hope that this presentation opens the door for frank dialog on South Africa’s development needs, its strengths and how we can build stronger coalitions to bring about a change at the micro level that will by its nature effect change at the macro level.  Indeed, this is our common goal and desire.

The Africare Story:  Africare works to Improve the Quality of Life In Africa, delivering programs in agriculture, water resource development, natural resource management, health care, emergency relief, private sector development and governance.

Nelson Mandela, who is among other things, the honorary chairman of Africare, once made the statement “I regard Africare as one of America’s greatest gifts to Africa.”  
The President of Africare, C. Payne Lucas once wrote “ Africa is an everyday place where people yearn for a better life and are doing what they can to make it happen.”

I would like to address Mr. Mandela’s statement.  If indeed his statement is correct, what makes Africare such a special and I dare say a unique gift to Africa?

If one looks at the Vision of Africare, it states: Africare works in partnership with African communities to achieve healthy and productive societies. This vision is not so unique or different than the vision or mission of most humanitarian organizations working  today on the Africa continent, or yesterday, for that matter.  Even within the policy frameworks of no doubt all African States, some similar statement can be found.  So, if the vision or the mission of Africare is not very different than that of other organizations, what is it that makes it, the organization, so unique?

I contend that there are three things that make our organization rare and so important to Africa’s development:

Africare represents the largest grassroots organization, headed by
an African-American and African working in all regions of sub-Saharan Africa today.  We started out in Niger, in 1971, with an African-American as President, Mr. C. Payne Lucas. And here we are 30 years later, 30 years more determined, 30 years stronger, in 28 African countries, headed by an African-American President and a former African Head of State, Mr. Mandela as our honorary chairperson.  It is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, with its headquarters in Washington, D.C.  We have more than 150 programs in 28 countries in Africa.  Africare has channelled more than $350 million to development and relief assistance.

Africare was borne out of the African struggle for self-determination, self-definition and self-development.  Many have sacrificed to make our dream a reality and we continue to struggle to fulfil our vision of an Africa, free from famine, war, poverty and strife.

Africare works where most organizations don’t want to go.  Most
of our projects can be found in rural Africa, often in isolated areas that are most difficult to reach.  Why, because in most of Africa, the need is greatest there--that’s where most Africans live, work and struggle to survive.  This has and still is one of our comparative advantages - the willingness to go where the needs are greatest.  It has only been in recent years that we have begun to also work in urban or peri-urban areas.  However, the majority of our work remains rural-based.

Africare places communities at the center of development: it
 is people driven.  For Africare, community development can be defined as “an indigenous process of growth that uses, among other things, external support or services to achieve a local common good.”  Implied in this definition is the fact that communities determine their common good (which may change in time) and organizations such as Africare and the government help or facilitate the achievement of that common good.  Our role in this process of community development is to assist community people to become more competent in addressing problems that they face and to gain control over what can sometimes be frustrating conditions.  In this way, we achieve the mission of “Improving the Quality of Life in Africa.”

We believe that only through strong communities can Africa feed itself, appropriately exploit
its natural resources, educate and care for its children, and live in peace.

We affirm the importance of public and private partnerships to help communities to realize
their goals.

Our broad areas of focus:
 Democracy and Governance:
In Africare, we believe that the improvement of civil society is crucial to community development.  An educated or enlightened community is one that has become more competent in determining its needs, agreeing upon its common good, taking collective action to solve its problems, and evaluating the results of its action and its impact on the daily life of community residents.  Therefore, we view democracy and governance not as the exclusive domain of politics or political organization, but as a tool for community empowerment and self-development.  Here, our work has mainly focused on improving competencies or building capacity to analyse problems, reach consensus, mobilize and organize around issues, resolve problems and evaluate choices.

Since its creation, Africare has been involved in supporting civil society.  Whenever no local group existed, Africare helped the community to organize into groups such as farmer associations and cooperatives in agriculture programs.  Generally, this work cuts across all sectors and all programs.

Health and HIV/AIDS
Our programs in health include projects in reproductive health, child survival, tropical disease control, and essential drug management and distribution.  A special emphasis is placed on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support and mitigation.  Africare integrates all projects with HIV/AIDS information.

Agriculture and Food Security:
Agriculture forms a major part of the economy in most countries in Africa.  Reducing poverty in Africa is intricately linked to agricultural development.

An integrated development approach:
Africare’s mission statement reflects the need to address the multi-faceted, inter-related and closely linked concerns facing most African communities.  Here, we understand that the health of the public and the achievement of common good is often tied to the community’s ability to access clean drinking water, grow and consume food that is of good nutritional value, live in decent housing with proper sanitary facilities, and generally make positive behavior choices.  Poverty, ignorance and lack of opportunity all influence life decisions and can result in negative consequences. 
More often that not, community members better understand these relationships than do development planners.  Their world is a holistic one that takes into consideration the complexities and sometimes contradictions of life and the difficulties of finding solutions to move one out of poverty, hunger and disease.  We, as development planners have to learn how to more effectively take our cues from the community and to dismantle the artificial barriers between one area of human life and another. 

The link between health and agriculture is women.  Africare concentrates on empowering women to take on roles of change agents.

The Africare Endowment Fund:
The Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner is the largest annual fundraiser in the U.S. for Africa.  The dinner is held in honor of the first Chairman of Africare, Bishop John T. Walker.  Each year, about $1 million is raised during this one-day event.  Each year, an Humanitarian Award is given to an outstanding man or woman who have contributed to the development of Africa.
This award was given to Bishop Desmond Tutu in 1992…

Dr. Nelson Mandela in 1994 and…

Graca Machel in 1999.  The fact that three South African leaders have received this award over the past 7 years demonstrates the importance of South Africa as a leader in the development of the African continent and demonstrates our, Africare’s, commitment to telling South Africa’s story to the world.

Africare in South Africa
Established in 1992
Based in Johannesburg
Our first projects were the Career Development Internship (CDI) Project and the Training for Governance in a New South Africa.
The main aim of the CDI project was to provide experience to black South Africans who studied in the U.S.  More than 400 South Africans participated in the program.

In the Training for Governance in a New South Africa program, the main goal was to facilitate training of South African policy makers.

Our Current Projects
The Southern Africa Regional Adolescent Reproductive Health Project is a regional initiative. 

It is implemented in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  The aim of the project is

to strengthen the capacity of Community Based Initiatives to address reproductive health of
youth, including HIV/AIDS prevention.  It is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates

Within this project, we concentrate on wealth creation and income generation among the youth, and not soley on building local capacity to curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS.  Youth in Agriculture activities feature prominently in this project.  Such issues as care and support of people living with AIDS are directly linked to nutritional improvement, agriculture and clean drinking water.  We learn about and better understand these inter-related concerns by seeking advice and direction from communities through various appraisal methods and dialog with them.  Defining needs, coping strategies and plausible solutions to problems lie in the communities themselves—they become the unit of solution.  It is their frame of reference that we seek to understand and work within.

Again, partnerships for development is an important component of our project.  UNDP’s Peak Performance Workshop was incorporated into the project to build the leadership base of our 55 CBI partners.

Digital Village Project:
Digital Villages are centers that provide access to and training in Information Technology.  There are 6 centers established in the country (Chiawelo, Orlando, Cape Flats, Galeshewe, Mpuludzi and GreenPoint).  The Centers are established within disadvantaged communities.

In 1997, the Chiawelo Digital Village was the first center that was established.  It was
officially opened by Bill Gates.

The Digital Village project empowers black youth to narrow the digital divide.
In this project, Africare has worked closely with the following Partners:  Microsoft, Intel, De

Beers, Telecordia, HP, Kodak, St. Pauls Companies, Compaq, City of Johannesburg,

Kimberly City Council and the Cape Flats Development Association (CAFDA).
Agriculture and its importance to development:  The Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development Project (REAP initiative):

REAP is a $10 million, five year project, initiated under the USA-RSA BiNational Commission (BNC).  The goal of REAP is to vitalize rural economies by facilitating entrepreneurship within disadvantaged communities.  We accomplish this through the promotion of skills, increased employment, improved household food security, a decline in rural to urban labor migration and a general improvement in the economic status of black farmers and entrepreneurs.

REAP funding was provided by the US Department of Agriculture through monetization or the sale of US commodities on the South African open market.
This project is a partnership effort that began with Africare and NDA working in close collaboration to design and implement the initiative.

REAP has five project components:
Nebo District Development Activities
Msinga District Development Activities
Support to the National African Farmers Union (NAFU)
University Partnerships:
The University of the North
The University of Venda
The University of Zululand
The University of Natal
The Agribusiness Development Fund

In Nebo District, we are concentrating on five objectives:
Strengthening of farmer organizations, extension service, entrepreneurial groups and agricultural institutions.
Rehabilitation and repair of agricultural infrastructure
Promotion of sustainable agribusiness
Promotion of the development of linkages between emerging entrepreneurs, established businesses, universities and other stakeholders.
 Demonstrate and objectively record the impact of the program on improving local living conditions.
A few accomplishments include: the fact that the Hereford Farmers Association, one group supported under this project, is one of the first group of black emerging farmers to export baby vegetables to Europe and Asia.  One of the black women farmers in this group was selected “Farmer of the Year” by the Northern Province Department of Agriculture.  Africare and the Land Bank provided a grant to HFA members to do a study tour to Israel.
Key partners and stakeholders in Nebo include the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Hereford Farmers Association, Tompi Seleka Agricultural College, the Varshwater Farmers Association, the Agricultural Research Council, and the Universities of the North and Venda.

In Msinga District, we concentrate on:
Agricultural Development that includes:
 repair and rehabilitation of agricultural irrigation schemes
establishment of  an agribusiness demonstration center or packing house
establishment of a nursery for seedlings
Organizational Development that includes:
support for water management institutions
PDA training programs
Master Farmer development
Youth internships
Agribusiness Development

Accomplishments in Msinga include:
the creation of a new cooperative: the Msinga Vegetable Producers Association or MVEPA
 the construction and management of a plant nursery by 17 residents (mostly women), more than 1 million seedlings have been produced by the nursery
more than 100,000 hectares of land irrigated through REAP supported agricultural irrigation schemes
Market research supported by REAP identified jam tomatoes as an appropriate variety acceptable to the market.  To date, more than 1,400 tons of jam tomatoes have been produced by Msinga farmers for sale in Greytown and Durban markets. 
Market linkages were developed with spice companies in Durban for the production of paprika on a trial basis.  To date, 40,000 seedlings have been grown by Msinga farmers.  They are due to be harvested in late March.
More than 80% of the REAP beneficiaries in Msinga are women
Construction on a packing house is due to begin in April.  The capacity of the packing house is about ten thousand crates of vegetables for overnight and cold storage.
A demonstration dam was built using appropriate technologies which have been adopted by the PDA.  The dam is providing water to more than 60 hectares of land owned by Msinga farmers.  The capacity of the dam is four million liters.

Key partners in Msinga:
KwaZulu/Natal Provincial Department of Agriculture
UMVEPA: Umsinga Vegetable Producers Association
Ikhwezi Agricultural Cooperative
The University of Natal
The University of Zululand
Peer Africa
The Lima Foundation

Provincial Steering Committees are in place in each province; they provide leadership, direction and guidance to on-the-ground implementation activities.  We are in the process of establishing a National Steering Committee that will play an advisory role in project implementation.

The focus of the support to NAFU is largely that of institutional capacity building.  NAFU is currently understaffed and poorly financed.  The overall aim of the support we provide is to upgrade and strengthen the organization’s capacity to be of greater service to its membership.  Key activities include:
hiring and training of administrative staff
establishment of a mentorship program to strengthen management, administrative and program activities
leadership training
conducting strategic planning workshops for national and field offices

NAFU represents thousands of small-scale black farmers throughout South Africa.  They are an important partner in the successful implementation of the goals and objectives of the REAP initiative.

REAP: University Partnerships:
Focus is on strengthening extension service through training of agents and workers
Provide assistance to small holder farmers and support institutions
Strengthen organizational structures within Universities to better serve farmers
Revive and strengthen sustainable indigenous agricultural practices

REAP: Agribusiness Development Fund (ADF)
-is a National Initiative
-is a cornerstone of the South African Government’s effort to enable qualified African farmers and entrepreneurs to engage in commercial agribusiness activities
-is intended to promote greater overall involvement of black South Africans in agriculture and related activities
-will assist in financing proposals from small-scale farmers and agribusinesses by establishing a loan guarantee facility ($1 million) that would be operated and managed as an independent trust (ADT)
-will provide $365,000 for technical assistance to loanees.

To date, more than 26,000 black farmers and their families have benefited from REAP support.  More than 50 youth received in-depth exposure to agriculture.

Monetization is a tool for resource mobilization for poor communities. 
Monetization is the sale of US agricultural commodities on the open market in South Africa. 
Monetization is the use of proceeds to support agricultural development projects for the rural poor. 

The agricultural commodities used to support development projects are provided through the Food for Progress program.  The food is sold within the private sector; there is no distribution of the commodities to program beneficiaries by Africare.

The $10 million that was generated to support the REAP initiative came from the sale of crude sunflower oil (9 mt.) and crude soy bean oil (9 mt.).  Total sale was about 18 mt.  This amount represents less than 1% of the input requirements for South Africa.

Monetization does not cause disruption to local markets.
For example:
The local consumption for sunflower oil is at about 480,000 mt. per year
The 2000/2001 sunflower seed crop is put at about 527,000 mt
This production will yield about 210,800 mt of oil
Therefore, there will be a sunflower oil deficit of about 269,200 mt. for the period 1 May 2001 to 30 April 2002
Consumption  =  480,000
Production      =  210,800
Deficit             =  269,200

In some ways, Monetization is similar to the tale of Robin Hood: only we sell food to the rich and middle-class and use the money to support the rural poor.

Monetization:  How do poor communities benefit?
·Training and Technical Assistance
·Capacity Building of indigenous institutions
·Exposure to new technologies and improved farming techniques
·Links to domestic and international markets
·Improvements in rural infrastructure
·Access to credit
·Improvements in extension services

Africare encourages the Government to consider partnering with us to use monetization to expand the current REAP activities in Northern and Kwazulu Natal Provinces and to replicate activities in other provinces, such as Eastern Cape where the needs of black farmers are greatest.

For further information about Africare, please visit our web-site at:


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