EC SKZN Annual Progress Report 2018

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APPENDIX3: EASTERNCAPE AND
SOUTHERNKZN PROGRESS REPORT
CA FarmerInnovation Programme for
smallholders.
Period: October 2017 - September2018
Farmer Centred Innovation in Conservation Agriculture in upper
catchment areas of the Drakensberg in the Eastern Cape and
Southern KZN regions of KwaZulu-Natal
Compiled by:
Erna Kruger, Mazwi Dlamini, Temakholo Mathebula
and Hendrik Smith
September 2018
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Project implemented by:
Mahlathini Development Foundation
Promoting collaborative, pro-poor agricultural innovation.
Contact:Erna Kruger (Founder and Coordinator)
Address: 72 Tatham Road, Prestbury, Pietermaritzburg, 3201, KZN
Email:erna@mahlathiniorganics.co.za, info@mahlathini.org
Cell: 0828732289
Time of operation: 2003-2018
Legal status: NPC
BEE status: 4. Certificate available.
In collaboration with:
Funded by:
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Contents
CONTENTS....................................................................................................................................................3
IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROJECT............................................................................................................5
DESCRIPTION AND SELECTION OF STUDY AREAS........................................................................................................5
APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY..............................................................................................................5
KEY ACTIVITIES: OCTOBER 2017-SEPTEMBER 2018..............................................................................6
FINANCIAL REPORTING ..................................................................................................................................6
RESULTS ACHIEVED TO DATE....................................................................................................................7
OVERALL TRIAL DESIGN PROCESS...........................................................................................................12
Year 1:.........................................................................................................................................................13
Year 2:.........................................................................................................................................................13
Year 3:.........................................................................................................................................................14
Possible agrochemical spraying regime options.......................................................................................14
SOIL FERTILITY AND SOIL HEALTH.........................................................................................................14
SOIL FERTILITY..................................................................................................................................................14
SOIL HEALTH.....................................................................................................................................................15
Nitrogen.....................................................................................................................................................21
VSLAS (VILLAGE SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATIONS)..........................................................................23
NGONONINI :IKUSASA LETHU GROUP...................................................................................................................24
Madzikane: Senzokuhle Group (New Group)............................................................................................26
YIELDS AND IMPLEMENTATION IN SKZN................................................................................................26
AVERAGE MAIZE YIELD.......................................................................................................................................27
AVERAGE LEGUME (BEANS AND COWPEAS)YIELDS................................................................................................28
IMPLEMENTATION PER AREA .......................................................................................................................29
MADZIKANE.......................................................................................................................................................29
Planting......................................................................................................................................................29
Crop Growth Monitoring............................................................................................................................29
Results........................................................................................................................................................30
Bawinile Mtolo...........................................................................................................................................31
Cosmos Xaba...............................................................................................................................................32
Mrs Gambu.................................................................................................................................................32
SPRINGVALLEY...................................................................................................................................................33
Bonginhlanhla Dlamini..............................................................................................................................34
Mzikayise Sosibo........................................................................................................................................34
Letta Ngubo................................................................................................................................................35
PLAINHILL.........................................................................................................................................................35
Mbongwa Khoza.........................................................................................................................................35
Philisiwe Sosibo..........................................................................................................................................36
Lindiwe Chonco..........................................................................................................................................36
EMAZABEKWENI................................................................................................................................................37
Million Ngubane.........................................................................................................................................37
Eric Latha...................................................................................................................................................38
Thembekile Mchunu...................................................................................................................................38
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NGONGONINI.....................................................................................................................................................39
Sebenzile Mthethwa...................................................................................................................................39
Eunice Nkabini...........................................................................................................................................39
Buyisile Kheswa..........................................................................................................................................39
Cingeni Kheswa..........................................................................................................................................40
ST ELOIS...........................................................................................................................................................41
Joseph Kheswa............................................................................................................................................41
Mkhanyisi Mbanjwa...................................................................................................................................41
PLAATISTAT......................................................................................................................................................41
Jabulile Shoba.............................................................................................................................................41
Mthokozisi Shabane...................................................................................................................................42
Tholakele Shange.......................................................................................................................................42
EC: MATATIELE IMPLEMENTATION PROGRESS.....................................................................................43
INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................................................43
SEKHUTLONG.....................................................................................................................................................43
NKAU................................................................................................................................................................45
MQHOBHI..........................................................................................................................................................46
KHUTSONG........................................................................................................................................................46
SPONTANEOUS ADOPTERS...................................................................................................................................47
....................................................................................................................................................................48
CONCLUSION......................................................................................................................................................48
STAKEHOLDER INTERACTION- INNOVATION PLATFORMS..................................................................49
PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS..............................................................................................................................49
MADZIKANE STAKEHOLDER MEETING -11JULY 2018...........................................................................................50
Introduction...............................................................................................................................................50
Purpose of the day delivered by Mr Xaba..................................................................................................50
Kwanalu Farmers Union (Roy Dandala)...................................................................................................53
Mr S. Dlamini from the District Office (DARD).........................................................................................54
Question and Answer session: Issues raised by farmers............................................................................54
Conclusion..................................................................................................................................................55
SUMMARY OF ISSUES AND LEARNINGS FROM INDIVIDUAL VISITS AND MONITORING.....................55
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Identification of the project
Description and selection of study areas
Matatiele has remained an area of focus for the programme, albeit with a smaller group of
participants and working in fewer localities (Nkau, Mqhobi, Sehutlong and Khutsong) primarily
managed by the local facilitator, Bulelwa Dzingwa.
Expansion into Southern KwaZulu-Natal (SKZN) has been successful and there has been
expansion into 5 new villages (Ngongonini, Plain Hill, St Elois, Emazabekweni, Plaatistat) making
the total project footprint of 13 villages. The good relationships with stakeholders in the
Ubuhlebezwe and the Nksozana Dlamini-Zuma Local Municipalities and with KwaNalu (The
KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union) have been extremely helpful in this regard.
Five Local Facilitators (LFs) have been active in SKZN this season, as other villages did not have
people who volunteered or were elected into these positions. Three Village Savings and Loan
Associations (VSLA) have been supported in Madzikane and Matatiele and a new group has
started in Nnongonini.
Approach and Methodology
The farmer-centred innovation systems research process underpinning the programme, which
is based on working intensively with farmer learning groups and local facilitators in each of the
villages, has been continued and strengthened.
Within the learning groups farmer innovators volunteer to set up and manage farmer managed
adaptive trials as the ‘learning venues’ for the whole learning group. FarmerField School (FFS)
and Participatory Innovation Development (PID)methodologies are used within the group to
focus the learning on the actual growth and development of the crops throughout the season. New
ideas are tested against the ‘normal’ practise in the area as the controls. Farmers observe, analyse
and assess what is happening in the trials and discuss appropriate decisionsand management
practices. Small information provision and training sessions are included in these workshops/
processes. These are based also on the seasonality of the crop and the specific requests and
questions from farmer learning group participants.
Local facilitators are chosen from within and by members of the learning group to be a person
who has the required experience, knowledge and a willingness to support the other farmer
innovators in their implementation. Facilitators are only chosen and appointed where people
with the appropriate skill andpersonality exists. Local facilitators receive a stipend for a
maximum of 10 working days per month, for their support to the farmer innovators. They fill in
detailed timesheets outlining their activities against which they claim a monthly stipend.
Learning group members agree to a season long learning process and put forward the farmer
innovators to run the trials. Each prospective innovator isinterviewed and visited and signs an
agreement with the Grain-SA team regarding their contribution to the process. They undertake
to plant and manage the CA trials according to the processes introduced as well as a control plot
of the same size. For the latter, farmers provide their own inputs.
The adaptive trials are also used as a focus point for the broader community to engage through
local learning events and farmers days. Stakeholders and the broader economic, agricultural and
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environmental communities are drawn into these processes and events. Through these events
Innovation Platforms (IPs)are developed for cooperation, synergy between programmes and
development of appropriate and farmer led processes for economic inclusion. These IPs also
provide a good opportunity to focusscientific and academic research on the ‘needs’ of the process.
In this season (2017-2018) we have continued to focus on the following elements of the model,
namely:
a)Support farmers who are in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd season,
b)Inclusion of summer cover crops in the crop rotation trials
c)Continuation with experimentation with winter cover crops
d)Initiation of nodes for farmer centres that can offer tools, input packs and advice
e)Continued support for the local maize milling operation for maize meal and cattle
feed in Khutsong.
f)Support for acquisition of an electric maize thresher for the group in Madzikane
g)Introduction of 2 row tractor drawn planter
Key activities: October 2017-September 2018
Implementation has continued in three areas (Matatiele, Creighton, and Ixopo ) in 13 villages.
Five (5) new villages were brought on board this season. Three (3) VSLAs have been started
(Madzikane, Nokweja, Ngongonini). Two (2) farmers days were held: one in Madzikane and one
in Springvalley in association with Landcare (DARD), a co-funder for this season. A farmers’ day
focussing on soil health was held in Mqhobi in the EC.
The overall programme is on track and the budget is deemed sufficient for completion on target
in September 2018.
Financial reporting
Below is a summary of the key result areas and budgets provided under the2017-2018 project
cycle.
Table 1: SKZN and EC SFIP budget outline for 2017-2018
Milestones/
Outputs
Key activities
Outcomes/ Deliverables
Budgets
Capital Equipment
Incl soil samples, knapsack
sprayers and planters
R37 290,00
Farmer
experimentation
EC and SKZN
Administration and
sundries
Travel, accommodation, admin,
manuals etc
R 94 160,00
Farmer centred
innovation systems
Farmer experimentation, savings
groups, monitoring, review
R 503 964,00
Innovation platforms
Stakeholder meetings, platform
building and events
R14 445,00
Sub - TOTAL: Oct 2017-Sept 2018
R 649 859,00
Expenditure by MDF has followed the key activities above. Regarding capital equipment and
Farmer Experimentation, a few modifications were made, given the co-funding that was received
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through the KZNDARD Land Care programme (R113 500) and the payment of subsidies by
farmers (R1 530). This provided for increased budgetary allowances and thus also meant savings
on capital equipment of around R42 000, which has been used within the Farmer centred
innovations systems key activity area.
Expenditure on capital equipment and farmer experiments is detailed below.
Table 2: Expenditure on the Capital Items and farmer Experimentation portions of the budget; 2017-2018
Inputs
Amt
Pd for by
grainSA
Input subsidy payments
TWK Agri-Ixopo
R32 024,07
Farmers AgriCare;
Gramoxone, Dual Gold,
Decis Forte
R2 671,30
AGT Foods- Cover Crops
R17 624,40
Khayalethu Store: Ixopo,
inputs
R260,50
TWk Ixopo;Twine,
Paraquat, gloves, juice
R244,70
TWK Ixopo Gramoxone
R608,00
Farmers input subsidies
R 1 530,00
Ngongonin
i subsidies
Victoria Packaging; 50kg
bags
R70,00
HIS- thresher repair
R1 419,96
R22 898,86
R 32 024,07
R 1 530,00
Total
R 53 392,93
Description
Amount
KZNDARD
Landcare
Amount
Soil samples, tools,
quantitative
measurements
R 37 290,00
Co funding
farmer
experiments
, capital
expenditure
R113 500,00
Seed, herbicide, fertilizer
R 58 208,00
Total
R 95 498,00
R113 500,00
Results achieved to date
Learning groups have been set up in each village and have had regular meetings.
Training/learning workshops have been conducted and monitoring and mid-season learning
events have been held
The learning groups provided the innovation platforms also for discussion of the value chain
issues, such as bulk buying, harvesting, storage and milling options and marketing.
Local facilitators were chosen by their groups for 5 villages (Nkau, Nokweja, Madzikane, Ofafa,
and Springvalley). These facilitators have assisted with trial planting and monitoring in their
areas and will be instrumental in arranging cross visits and farmers’ days.
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Stakeholder engagement and awareness raising has continued. Three farmers days have been
held, focussing on progress, soil health and use of different varieties of maize.
The stakeholder forum in Madzikane has been continued to create a platform for involvement of
Government and Municipal Stakeholders. Presently a proposal is being developed for Cooperative
support through the Department of Small Business Development with the assistance of Roy
Dandala from KwaNalu and Nqe Dlamini from StratAct.
Three (3) VSLAs have been supported, of which two have been formed in the present season; one
in Madzikane and one in Ngongonini.
The table below outlines activities related to objectives and key indicators for the period of
October 2017-September 2018.
Table 3:SUMMARY OFPROGRESS (OCTOBER 2017SEPTEMBER 2018)RELATED TO OBJECTIVESAND KEY ACTIVITIES
Objectives
Key activities
Summary of progress
% completion and comment
1. Document
lessons
learned
Documentation for
learning and
awareness raising
- Manuals and learning
materials)
- Sharing of information
through innovation
platforms processes
- Articles and
promotional material
-Use of GrainSA promotional
videos, Pp presentations, CA
manuals and learning handouts
in events and meetings
- Participation in Ubuhlebezwe
LM agricultural forum,
Madzikane, Springvlley and
Mqhobhi farmers’ days (100%
completion)
- 3 Conference papers:@ACCA,
LaRSSA and LandCare
- 3 articles for the SAGrain
newsletter; incl a case study for
Mr Xaba (Madzikane) (100%
completion)
Interim and Final
report
- Interim and annual
report
- Interim and annual reports
finalised (100% completion)
Objectives
Key activities
Summary of progress
% completion and comment
2. Increase
the
sustainability
and efficiency
of CA systems
1st level
experimentation:
use their own practice
as a control size
400m² ha exp,
Control.
- 9 villages, 44 farmers
- 100%. Basic CA design-
intercropping with maize
beans and cowpeas on a
100m2- 400m2 plot, with a
control plot managed entirely
by the participant.
Adaptation trials included late
season planting of beans with a
mixture of winter and summer
cover crops.
2nd level
experimentation: g
farmers use their own
practice as a control
size: size 400m² ha
exp, 400m²
- 8 villages, 25 farmers
- 100%. Adaptation trials
included late season planting of
beans with a mixture of winter
and summer cover crops. Most
participants opted to continue
with intercropping practice
from their 1st year.
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3rd level
experimentation; own
contribution, larger
plots, own
-3 villages, 4 farmers
- 100%. Larger level plantings
using oxen drawn planters and
including cover crops of own
choice such as Lucerne.
Intercropping still practised.
Awa crop rotation and summer
and winter cover crops.
Develop and manage
PM&E framework;
weekly and monthly
M&E visits
-M&E forms redesigned
and used
- Digital monitoring
system piloted
- 100%. Planting and growth
monitoring completed, along
with yield measurements for
maize, beans and cowpeas.
Yearly review and planning
sessions conducted.
Facilitation of
innovation platforms
-Co- facilitation of
information sharing and
action planning with
stakeholders and role
players
- 100%. Continuation with
stakeholder meetings and
events.
CA working group,
and reference group
-Planned for Aug 2018
-
Sharing of information
using a range of
innovation platforms
- Presentation at UWC
postgraduate student
symposium for PLAAS
- See above
A performance dashboard is indicated below. This provides a snapshot of performance
according to suggested numbers and outputs in the proposal.
Table 4:PERFORMANCE DASHBOARD;SEPTEMBER 2018
Outputs
Proposed (March 2017)
Actual (Sept 2018)
Number of areas of operation
4
3
Number of villages active
13
13
No of 1st level farmer experiments
48
44
No of 2nd level farmer experiments
17
25
No of 3rd level experiments
3
4
No of local facilitators
5
5
No of direct beneficiaries
114
138
Participatory M&E (farmer level)
Yes
Yes
VSLAs
4
Soil health samples
27
9
Soil samples
36
22
CA manual (English and Zulu)
Yes
CA manual English yes
CA manual Zulu-yes
Initiation of learning groups in Southern KZN has been going very well and CA has been
introduced in 9 villages with a total of 58 new trial participants. Of these participants 43 managed
to continue with their trials to harvest.
Twenty nine (29) Participants including both SKZN and Matatiele are continuing into their 2nd
and 3rd years of CA experimentation
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The table below summarises the planned and actual farmer trial implementation for the 2017-
2018 planting season. A total of 95 trial participants volunteered through the planning processes
across 13 villages in three areas. Ninety three (93) of these farmers planted trials (around 91%
of participants). The season was quite dry to start with and a number of participants had patchy
germination as a result, especially in Matatiele.
Table 5:SUMMARY OF FARMER INNOVATION NUMBER AND AREAS PLANTED PER VILLAGE IN THISCAPROCESS;EASTERN CAPE,2017-
2018
Area
Village
Farm
-ers
selec-
ted
Farme
rs
plante
d (1st
level)
Farme
rs
plante
d (2nd
level)
Farme
rs
plante
d (3rd
level)
Experimentation
Comments; incl
planters used.
Matatiele
Sehutlong
4
1
1
2
Summer cover crops,
crop rotation, OPVs,
winter cover crops,
intercropping
Bulelwa Dzingwa
local facilitator for
Nkau, Mghobi and
Sehutlong. She has
continued to
manage the CA
experimentation in
Matatiele- but has a
much smaller group
of participants this
season
Nkau
3
1
1
1
Summer cover crops,
crop rotation, OPVs,
winter cover crops,
intercropping
Mqhobi
(2017=8)
2
2
Intercropping new
village and group
Khutsong
1
1
Summer cover crops,
crop rotation, OPVs,
winter cover crops,
intercropping
Mapheele also
experimenting with
Lucerne
Animal drawn
planters used here
in larger areas
Creighton
Madzikane
10
7
Intercropping (beans
and cowpeas), late
season beans and
cover crops
2 row-planter (7
participants)
Partnership
KwaNalu. GM
control plots, trials
for PANNAR. Local
facilitator: Mr CD
Xaba
Ixopo
Ofafa
(2017=4)
8
2
5
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
Local facilitator; Mr
Ndlovu. Area is hilly
and steep with
variable to bad soils
Springvalley
(2017=9)
6
5
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
Local Facilitator; Mr
B Dlamini. Local
homestead based
fields. Area is hilly
nad steep with
variable soils
Plaatistat
(new grp)
13
6
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
Local facilitator The
beginnings of a
farmer centre. Here
there are larger
fields- need for a
tractor drawn
planter.
PlainHill
(new grp)
12
9
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
Expansion area
from Spring Valley
supported by Mr B
Dlamini the LF
11
Nokweja
(2017=9)
4
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
Local facilitator, Mr
Mkhize. They are
also working in
larger fields with
DARD and GrainSA
FDP
St Elois
(new group)
9
5
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
Expansion area
from Nokweja
supported by Mr
Mkhize the LF
Emazabekwe
ni (new
group)
8
5
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
Expansion area
from Nokweja
supported by Mr
Mkhize the LF
Ngongonini
(new group)
16
11
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
Expansion area
from Nokweja
supported by Mr
Mkhize the LF
TOTAL
13
82
44
25
4
Total area
planted to trials~
3,6 ha
There is a trend of increasing number of villages and participants over the period of
implementation, despite the need to incorporate new villages in every year for the SKZN and EC
region. This points towards the success of the methodology of using Innovation platforms,
learning groups and farmer led experimentation as a process for creating awarenessand
improving implementation of CA in smallholder systems
Table 6: Summary of areas of implementation and participant numbers from 2013-2017 in the EC&SKZN region.
EC+SKZN
No of
villages
Learning
group
members
Farmer
experiments
Harvested
Area
under
trials
Total area
planted *
2013-2014
3
61
23
22
0,46ha
0,8ha
2014-2015
10
110
63
26
0,5ha
1,4ha
2015-2016
8
96
43
28
0,42ha
2,5ha
2016-2017
11
121
70
52
1,1ha
5,1ha
2017-2018
13
138
82
72
3,6ha
8ha
*Control plot sizes have been measured accurately only for a proportion of the participants. This value is thus an
estimate
The number in the column named farmer experiments are the number of smallholders registered
each year (at the beginning of the season) to do their farmer level trials. The number in the
Harvested column are those who planted and harvested their trials. Some smallholders plant, but
have crop failure and thus do not harvest, while other end up not planting. Reasons provided by
farmers for not planting include:
Season too dry and opted not to plant
Waited too long and then could not plant
Lack of labour
Cattle not sent into the mountains for summer grazing in time to plant
Non-payment of subsidy amount
Ill health, migration of family members
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Inability to plant the control plots as per the agreement with each farmer
The model is that participant farmers plant a CA trial (100 m2, 400m2, or 1000m2 choice up to
the farmer), alongside their normal maize plantings- or controls. Their control plot has to be at
least the same size as their trials. Even with this agreement a proportion of participants (around
35%) do not plant control plots.
Table 7: Adoption rates for smallholders undertaking CA in the SZKZN&EC region
EC,
SKZN
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
1st
22
19
22
44
52
2nd
7
5
2
30
3rd
1
6
4
4th
This table indicates the number of new participants coming on board each year and the number
that continue withexperimentation. There are some drop offrates and then recovery rates again
as people restart the process. One of the major contributing factors to the stop-start process has
been the weather, given the severe drought in 2015, very few participants planted but took up
the process again in 2016. Also, upon the initial introduction of the subsidy a number of
participants withdrew, but decided at a later stage to re-enter the programme and pay the
subsidy. So, the numbers are not a clear linear process of uptake and attrition as one might have
expected.
What is significant is that every year new participants are brought on board and that overall the
number of farmer participants undertaking trials and keeping on with the CA for a period of time
is growing steadily.
The picture for the EC, SKZN sites is even less linear than other areas generally here the uptake
in the second year has been a lot lower than for Bergville for example, especially in the first three
years. As the study areas have been changing more rapidly in those areas and some places have
been moved away from, there are as yet no 4thyear implementers in that site. In the ECit has
been harder to sustain the experimentation process. New participants started every year, but
very few continued. There were a number of factors that contributed; one being the much lower
yield potential in this area (Matatiele, Mt Frere, Mt Ailiff) and the other beingthe unwillingness
of participants to put in the labour required to maintain their trials and control plots. The latter
has to do with a dependency syndrome that has been created through the Eastern Cape
Department of Agriculture’s process of ploughing and planting for people. They have become
unused to doing the work themselves. A decision was taken by this team to refrain from continued
support in these cases and to move to new areas instead thus the systematic move away from
the EC into SKZN.
Overall trial design process
As this is an existing ‘technology’ the farmer level experimentation is in essence an adaptation
trial process.
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Year 1:
Experimental design is pre-defined by the researchteam (based on previous implementation in
the area in an action research process with smallholders). It includes a number of different
aspects:
Intercropping of maize, beans and cowpeas
Introduction of OPV and hybrid varieties for comparison (1 variety of maize and beans
respectively)
Close spacing (based on Argentinean model)
Mixture of basin and row planting models
Use of no-till planters (hand held and animal drawn)
Use of micro-dosing of fertilizers based on a generic recommendation from local soil
samples
Herbicides sprayed before or at planting
Decis Forte used at planting and top dressing stage for cutworm and stalk borer
Planting of cover crops; winter mix in Autumn
Experimental design includes 2 treatments; planter type (2) and intercrop (2). See the diagram
below>
Figure 1:Expample of plot layout for the 1st level farmer trials
The basic process for planting thus includes: Close spacing of tramlines (2 rows) of maize
(50cmx50cm) and legumes (20cmx10cm) intercropped, use of a variety of OPV and hybrid seed,
weed control through a combination of pre- planting spraying with herbicide and manual
weeding during the planting season and pest control using Decis Forte, sprayed once at planting
and once at top dressing stage.
Year 2:
Based on evaluation of experiment progress for year 1, includes the addition of options that
farmers choose from. Farmers also take on spraying and plot layout themselves:
A number of different OPV and hybrid varieties for maize
A number of different options for legumes (including summer cover crops)
Planting method of choice
Comparison of single crop and inter cropping planting methods
Use of specific soil sample results for fertilizer recommendations
PLOT 1: Hand HoePLOT 2: Planter
Maize 1,bean 1Maize 2,Bean 1Maize 1,bean 1Maize 2, Bean 1
Maize 1,Bean 2Maize 2,Bean 2Maize 1,Bean 2Maize 2,Bean 2
PLOT 3:OR repeat plot 1 and 2PLOT 4:
Hand hoePlanterHand hoePlanter
Maize 1,cowpeaMaize 1,cowpea
Maize 1,Dolichos
Maize 1,dolichos
Maize 2,CowpeaMaize 2,Cowpea
Maize 2,Dolichos
Maize 2,Dolichos
10m or5m
10m or 5m
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Early planting
Own choices
Year 3:
Trials are based on evaluation of experimentation process to date; to include issues of cost benefit
analysis, bulk buying for input supply, joint actions around storage, processing and marketing.
Farmers design their experiments for themselvesto include some of the following potential focus
areas:
Early planting; with options to deal with more weeds and increased stalk borer
pressure.
Herbicide mix to be used pre and at planting (Round up, Dual Gold, Gramoxone)
A pest control programme to include dealing with CMR beetles
Intercropping vs crop rotation options
Spacing in single block plantings
Use of composted manure for mulching and soil improvement in combination with
fertilizer,.
Soil sample results and specific fertilizer recommendations
Planting of dolichos and other climbing beans
Summer and winter cover crops; crop mixes, planting dates, management systems,
planting methods (furrows vs scatter)
Seed varieties; conscious decisions around POVs, hybrids and GM seeds
Cost benefit analysis of chosen options
Possible agrochemical spraying regime options
1. Roundup 2 weeks before planting- if there has been some rain and weeds. Dual Gold at planting
(or just after planting with Decis Forte/Kemprin).
2. Gramoxone at planting (just before or after planting) with or without Dual Gold and Decis
Forte/KemprinDual Gold does not work on dry soil (Followed by heavy rain)
Soil Fertility and Soil health
Soil Fertility
Soil samples were taken for the new areas in SKZN where the trials have been initiated, namely
Plainhill, St Elois, Ngongonini, Emazabekweni. An analysis of the differences in soil fertility for the
new villages was provided in the interim report. The table below summarises the results per
village, for the 28 samples that have been taken over the last two seasons, to get a coherent
indication of fertilizer requirements for this project’s participants.
Table 8:SUMMARIES FOR SOIL FERTILITY PARAMETERSAND FERTILIZER REQUIREMENTSFOR THE SKZNANDMATATIELE(2017)
AREA
pH
%
Acid
sat
%C
%N
%Clay
MAP
KCL
LAN
Lime
50kg
bags/ha
t/ha
Note:
Average
was taken
for those
needing
Springvalley
5,5
0,5
2,76
0,19
51,3
3,8
1,46
0
Plainhill
4,3
19
3,2
0,2
59
3,8
2,4
2,6
4
Ofafa
5,4
0,6
3,7
0,38
40
1,8
2,1
0
15
Nokweja 2016
4,0
25,5
4,43
0,31
49,2
2,7
1,7
4,4
lime not
all
participants
Nokweja 2017
4,5
12,5
3,9
0,4
48
2,6
3,8
4,25
St Elois
5,3
1,25
3,4
0,3
50
3,2
3,2
0
Ngongonini
4,5
19
4,9
0,4
50
2,3
2,7
4,2
Emazabekweni
4,4
2,8
3,1
0,2
58,6
2,8
3,4
0
Madzikane
4,3
14,9
3,1
0,23
48,1
3
1,6
4,8
Matatiele
4,46
8,9
1,4
0,1
19,6
2,6
2,4
1,06
AVERAGE
3
2
3,8
The generic fertilizer recommendation provided to participants at the start of the trials is 5 x 50kg
bags of MAP, 3 bags of LAN and 3,8t/ha of lime (just for those who require lime).
From the above summarytable it is clear that the generic recommendation can in fact be reduced
to 3 bags of MAP and 2 bags LAN. Attention will need to be given to those participants needing
lime and an increased lime requirementspecifically in Nokweja, Ngongonini, Plainhill and
Madzikane will be important -with a generic recommendation of 3,8t/ha of Lime. For Matatiele
this quantity should be 1t/ha.
Soil health
The Haney Soil Health Test (SHT) looks at parameters outside of the conventional inorganic soil
fertility measurements in soil. The Haney SHT is an integrated approach to soil testing using
chemical and biological soil test data. It is designed to mimic nature's approach to soil nutrient
availability as best we can in the lab.
So, what does the soil life look like?
The soil is a complex combination of life forms; bacteria, fungi, protozoa, arthropods and worms,
all in an intricate dance of ingestion and egestion that creates the “food” for plant roots and the
cycling of nutrients needed for sustainability and regeneration in a system.
Of these organisms, bacteria have the highest concentration of N at a C:N ratio of 5:1, fungi have
a ratio of around 10:1, protozoa 30:1 and nematodes 100:1. Along with the basic chemical
properties of the soil, the combination and quantity of these organisms then determine the C:N
ratio in your soil. The lower this ratio is, the more organisms are active and the more available
the food is to the plants. Good C:N ratios for plant growth are <15:1
16
It is also important to note that you can have a low or optimum C:N (WEOC/WEON) within a
range of values of available water extractable organic carbon (WEOC) in the soil If this value is
low, it will reflect in the C02respiration, which will also be low. So less organic carbon means less
respiration frommicroorganisms, but again this relationship is unlikely to be linear. The
Microbially Active Carbon (MAC = WEOC / ppm CO2) content is an expression of this relationship.
If the percentage MAC is low, it means that nutrient cycling will also be low. One needs a %MAC
of at least 20% for efficient nutrient cycling.
Soil health as it relates to soil fertility is all about nutrient cycling of which N is the most
complicated as it is sequestered from the atmosphere and the other elements are all mineral
derived (P,K etc). Nitrogen cycling isa vital component of all the other soil health functions. When
N is in place most if not all the other nutrients are properly cycled and made available to plant
roots. The initial driver of this process is the soluble carbon sugars from the root exudates that
kick starts the process byproviding a usable carbon source that enables the free livingnitrogen
fixers to utilise the atmospheric nitrogen. This is the starting point of the nutrient cycling process.
As these bacteria are consumed by the next trophic level, so the nitrogen pool is established for
other microbes and organisms.
Haney SHT indicators
Solvita 1-day CO2-C burst test: This number in ppm is the amount of CO2-C released through
respiration in 24 hr. from soil microbes after your soil has been dried and rewetted (as occurs
naturally in the field). This is a measure of the microbial activity in the soil and is highly related
to soil fertility. In most cases, the higher the number, the more fertile the soil.
Test results
ppmCO2-C
N-Mineralisation Potential
Biomass
>100
High-N potential soil. Likely
sufficient N for most crops
Soil very well supplied with organic
matter. Biomass>2500ppm
61-100
Moderately-high. This soil has
limited need for supplemental N
Ideal state of biological activity and
adequate organic matter
31-60
Moderate. Supplemental N
required
Requires new applications of stable
organic matter. Biomass<1,200ppm
6-30
Moderate-low. Will not provide
sufficient N for most crops
Low in organic structure and microbial
activity. Biomass<500ppm
0-5
Little biological activity; requires
significant fertilization
Very inactive soil. Biomass<100ppm.
Consider long-term care
C:N ratio. This is the ratio of organic C to organic N from the water extractable fraction, which is
easily accessible to microbes. This ratio is a critical component of the nutrient cycle. A C:N ratio
of above 20:1 indicates that no net N and P mineralisation will occur, meaning that these elements
are tied up in microbial cells. As the ratio drops N and P are released to the soil water solution
where it can be taken up by growing plants. A good ratio is from 8:1 to 15:1
Soil Health Calculation (SHC). This value can be between 0-50, butwe like to see this value
above 7.
17
The new calculation for the SHC is the following: CO2 / 10 + WEOC / 50 + WEON /10 - for all CO2
readings up to 100 ppm
- If the CO2 reading is between 101 to 200 then the dividing number becomes 12.
- Between 201 and 300 it increases to 14 so as to decrease the CO2 weighting in the
formula and give more weight to the WEOC that really drives the system at the first
trophic level.
The scale for the SHC is 0-3; 3-7; 7-10; 10-25; 25-50
Soil health tests have been conducted for a small number of participants between 2015-2017 (4)
and for 7 participants in total during that period across three villages in Matatiele. This analysis,
along with an analysis of changes in soil health scores due to different cropping practices were
presented in the interim (6 monthly report in March 2018).
Haney SHT’shave also been done for two new entrant participants in Nkau. This allows a
comparison between SHT values for start-up of CA in the area and those that have been done for
a number of years, as well as monitoring changes over a period of time. These results are also
compared with a selection of other new entrant participants for SKZN (Nokweja, Spring Valley
and Madzikane). The trends and results are presented below.
Veld samples are taken to provide a ‘natural’ benchmark against which to compare the cropping
samples. The assumption is that the veld in the area provides a good example of a natural balance
of soil health indicators for the particular area and particular type of soil.
Figure 2: Soil health indicators for a selection of new and older participants in the SKZN&EC region; 2017
0
50
100
150
200
250
Trial Trial Trial Trial Trial Trial VeldTrial Trial Trial
Bulelwa
Dzinga
Thapelo
Ramany
ali
Ocean
Khokho
tho
Simon
Tsoloan
e
Mamole
lekeng
Lebeou
a
Matsep
o Futu
Mandla
Mkhize
Bongin
hlanhla
Dlamini
Cosmas
Xaba
NkauNkauNkau Khutso
ng
Sehutl
ong
Sehutl
ong
Matati
ele
Nokwej
a
Spring
Valley
Creight
on
2017 2017 2017 2017 2017 2017 2016 2017 2017 2017
%OM 3.5 2.4 2.5 0.632.1 2.3 5.4 5.76
CO2 - C, ppm C41.1 34.8 36.0 14.6 37.99.752.3126.940.3 57.0
Organic C ppm C190.0 159.0 150.073.0243.0 114.0 184.0 175.0 136.0 176.0
Organic N ppm N14.7 18.8 13.5 12.1 25.3 12.27.714.2 10.6 15.8
C:N ratio12.98.511.16.09.610.2 23.9 12.3 12.8 11.1
Soil health Calculation9.48.58.04.0 11.2 4.44.8 15.5 7.8 10.8
Soil health indicators
SKZN Soil health samples, 2017 (N=9)
18
Points of interest from the above figure are discussed below.
NKAU (Matatiele)
The soils in Nkau are reasonably sandy (15-19% clay), Have pH’s ranging between 3,9-
4,3., acid saturations of 10-30%, % Organic Carbon of around 1,1-1,3 and % Nitrogen of
around 0,13%.Soil sample results for particpants in thisarea are all reasonablysimilar
and fall wthin the ranges provided.
In this area Bulelwa Dzingwa has been practicing CA (Rotation of plots consisting of :
Intercropping maize with beans and maize with cowpeas; summer cover crops and single
crop blocks of maize and beans) for 4 yearsand the other two participants are in their
first year of implementation. (Intercropped plots of maize withbeans and maize with
cowpeas). For Bulelwa one can see the increased build-up of soil organic matter (SOM)
(3,5%), as opposed to 2,4% and 2,5% respectively for Thapelo and Ocean. Their values of
%SOM are close to the veld baseline (also taken in Nkau, close to Bulelwa’s home) for the
area and one can assume that the build-up of SOM for Bulelwa is due to her CA cropping
practices.
Microbial respiration (CO2-C),similarly is higher for Bulelwa than for the newer
participants, indicating an increase in microbial activity under CA. Here the veld baseline
respiration (52,3ppm) is still higher than that of the cropped areas (41.1, 34.8 and
36ppm) respectively for the three participants.
Further analysis is possible using information from the soil health tests. The percentage
microbially active carbon (% MAC) gives an indication of the percentage of the organic C that
was microbially active at the time of sampling. There are a number of factors that can influence
% MAC:
a)The overall population of microbes in the soil, if it is small, then there can be more carbon
available than is being used and if it is large it can use more organic carbon than is being
0.0
10.0
20.0
30.0
40.0
50.0
60.0
C:N ratio%OM%MACSoil
aggregates
Bulelwa Dzinga12.9 3.5 21.733
Thapelo Ramanyali8.52.4 21.958
Ocean Khokhotho11.1 2.5 24.042
Nkau 2017: Indicators related to organic matter,
carbon and microbial activity
19
generated the prior can happen in infertile soils low in organic matter and the latter in
fertile soils with high growth rates in annual crops.
b)Climatic conditions microbial activity varies with temperature and moisture in the soil-with
reduced microbial activity in very cold, very hot and dry conditions.
c)The balance of microbial types / groups and trophic levels in the microbial population. This
is closely related to the C:N ratio. Higher carbon values in relation to nitrogen values will
dampen the microbial activity for a period andmoves the balance of themicrobial population
away from bacterial to fungal activity allowing the carbon to be digested and recycled by the
fungi. This includes the Mycorrhizal activity in the root zonesand presence of aggregates in
the soil.
These trends are obvious in the three
samples described above. Although
Bulelwa Dzingwa is managing to build up
SOM in her soil and her microbial
respiration score is also higher than that
of the other two new entrant participants,
her sample shows a higher C:N ratio,
lower %MAC and lower soil aggregate
stability. This points towards increased
stocks of carbon in her soil (reserves),
but also towards a microbial population
(soil food web) that is slow to assimilate
and release the food source (organic C) to
plants. It could be due to the fact that her
soil was potentially more biologically
depleted (e.g. the absence of some
keystone microbial species such as
mycorrhizae) by continuous cropping,
given that both new entrant farmers had
not cultivated their fields for a number of
years, prior to starting CA.
The Soil Labile Amino Nitrogen (SLAN)
testmeasures the "nearly available
Nitrogen" bonded in an organic molecule.
It provides the amount of "upstream
nitrogen" bound in the soil organic
component and represents the total
releasable N over time.
The short term release N is that fraction
that is “almost” available for plant use and
along withlong term release N (humus)
are the two fractions most affected by
build-up of organic matter in the soil. It is
possible to work out a Rand value for the
The types of fungi that survive in conventionally managed
agricultural soils are mostly decomposers; they obtain
energy from decaying organic matter such as crop
residues. Generally, these kinds of fungi have relatively
small hyphal networks. They are important for soil fertility
and soil structure, but play only a minor role in carbon
storage.
Below: Mycorrhizal fungi grow very closely associated with
plant roots and create networks of filaments (hyphae within
the soil)
(From:http://www.heartspring.net/mycorrhizal_fungi_benefits.html)
Mycorrhizal fungi differ from decomposer fungi in that
they get their energy in a liquid form, as soluble
carbon directly from actively growing plants. There are
many different types of mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizal
fungi access and transport water - plus nutrients such
as phosphorus, nitrogen and zinc - in exchange for
carbon from plants.
Some of this soluble carbon is also channelled into soil
aggregates via the hyphae of mycorrhizal fungi and
can undergo humification, a process in which simple
sugars are made up into highly complex carbon
polymers. The soil conditions required for humification
are reduced in the presence of herbicides, fungicides,
pesticides, phosphate and nitrogen fertilisers - and
enhanced in the presence of root exudates and humic
substances such as those derived from compost.
20
inorganic and organic N still available in the soil which becomes a savinginapplication of
mineral fertilizers containing N.
Figure 3: The SLAN test results for Nkau, 2017
In the above figure the following trends can be seen.
1.For Bulelwa Dzingwa there is a definite build-up of Nitrogen in the soil. This is a
combination of organic N and inorganic N (applied in the form of fertilizer). The total N in
her soil is significantly higher than for Thapelo and Ocean. She also has a large fraction of
long term release N (454 kg/ha). This is the fraction that has been progressively
increasing over the three years of measurement. It is significant as it indicates improved
soil health and resilience of her soil. This fraction is also higher than for the new entrant
participants (398 and 381kg/ha respectively). However, the short-term and immediate
release of N is very low and indicates to a partially functional soil food web.
2.The savings in Nitrogen fertilizer applications are calculated from the immediate release
N. In this case it is higher for both Thapelo and Ocean than for Bulelwa, which corresponds
with the %MAC described above. These values (R250-R450) are reasonably typical of all
participants in CA and represent a saving of about 30% on inorganic fertilization through
the building up of the organic components in the soil within a few years. This contribution
becomes significantly higher when high biomass legumes (such as lab-lab beans, and
cowpeas) and multispecies cover crop options are used.
Below is an analysis for Bulelwa Dzingwa looking at different cropping options including her
monocrop CA control plot, her trial plot (maize and bean intercrop) and a plot where mulching
was applied.
1.There is a small amount of short-term release or reserve N in her soil (4kg/ha). If this is
compared to the 2016 season, it can be seen that this fraction was much higher. But in
combination, the short term and immediate release N fractions are similar between the
two years (32kg/ha in 2017 vs 30kg/ha in 2016).
0
100
200
300
400
500
N(kg/ha)
Total
N Long term
release
N Short term
relsease
N Immediate
release
R value of
Org N
Bulelwa Dzinga487 454428 R319.00
Thapelo Ramanyali398 355537 R414.00
Ocean Khokhotho381 351129 R326.00
kg/ha N
Nkau 2017: Indicators related to nitrogen in the soil, (SLAN
test)
21
2.Her mono-cropped maize CA control plot shows a much lower value of available N and a
lower rand value of savings in N (R175/ha). This indicates that the intercropping of maize
and beans provides for a significant increase in available Nitrogen to the next season’s
crops.
3.The mulching provides for a significantly higher long term release N value, which is then
carried through to the 2017 season.
Figure 4: SLAN test results for Bulelwa Dzingwa, 2017
Nitrogen
In Matatiele where participants have been active for 3-4 years, there is a build-up of organic
nitrogen in the soil over time, but also increased release of N. This is indicated in the figure below
showing a higher N release than reserve. The immediate release N is mostly provided by chemical
fertilization (indicated by high amounts of NO3 inorganic fertiliser) and mineralized organic N
and long term N is slowly released to the plants and not available in the nutrient pool in the short
term.
This does not happen in conventional (inorganic) farming systems and is thus a good indicator of
the regenerative nature of CA. It also happens at a much slower rate in mono cropped plots, when
compared to diversified cropping (intercropping and cover crop options)
An analysis of Nitrogen
components for Bulelwa
Dzingwa (Nkau,
Matatiele); 2017-2018
Trial plot
TrialMulchTrialCont (M) CA
2017 2016 2016 2016
Soil aggregates33 33 33 21
N(kg/ha) Total487 426 347 347
N Long term release454 400 317 319
N Short term relsease421 16 18
N Immediate release28 414 10
R value of Org NR319.00R76.00R236.00 R175.00
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
Soil Health Indicators
Bulelwa Dzingwa: Nkau 2016-2017
22
Bulelwa Dzingwa, from Nkau in Matatiele has been practicing CA for 4 years. Although her soil
conditions are only fairly good and her yields are also not particularly high, there are definite
signs of her soil health improving over time. Yield 2016-2017 maize 4,1t/ha, beans 2t/ha.
The interesting point for Bulelwa is that her CA practicesare building up reserve N and
release N in her soil and slowly assisting in building soil health and fertility to sustain
incrementally increasing yields with lower levels of fertiliser.
An analysis of Nitrogen
components for
Mamolelekeng Lebeoua
(Sehutlong, Matatiele);
2017-2018 Trial plot
Mamolekeng Lebuea is the best farmer among our participants in Matatiele. She has managed to
maintain and build her soil health, prior even to working with CA and her involvement of 4 years
in CA has continually improved her situation. Yields for 2016-2017were: maize - 7,2t/ha and
beans - 2t/ha
Mamolelekeng has been able to increase her reserve and release N fraction substantially,
along with building organic carbon. What is interesting in her case is the combination of a
low C:N ratio and low CO2 respiration. This points towards low microbially active carbon.
As the other indicators are good, this phenomenon can be interpreted as increased plant
growth activity providing large amounts of WEOC in the form of sugars, at a rate that is
faster then the present microbial community is able to consume but this expected to
‘catch up’ as the N release is higher than N reserve and increasing.
A high fraction of N release is visible in the entrant (year 1) participantsofSKZN, where the
general soil characteristics are better than in Matatiele. An example is shown below.
SOLVITA CO2 Burst
CO2 - C, ppm C
Organic C
ppm C
Organic N
ppm N
MAT 641,1190 14,7 12,99,4
Sample#
WATER EXTRACT
C/N
Soil Health
Calculation
(Index)
Comment
BIOLOGICAL ANALYSES
Very
Good
SOLVITA
CO2 Burst
CO2 - C,
ppm C
Organic C
ppm C
Organic N
ppm N
MAT 337,6243 25,39,6 11,2
Sample #
WATEREXTRACT
C/N
Soil Health
Calculation
(Index)
Comment
BIOLOGICAL ANALYSES
Excellent
23
An analysis of
Nitrogen
components for
Cosmas Xaba
(Madzikane-
Creighton); 2017-
2018 trial plot
Mr Xaba has been producing maize on a reasonably large scale for a number of years and has an
advanced conventional system (also using GM maize). Yields for his CA trial plots were 4,1 t/ha
in 2016-2017 and for his controlGM maize around 2,65 t/ha.
Mr Xaba, being in the earlier stages of CA implementation has not managed to increase his
organic Nitrogen. So even though he works in an area where his soils are a lot better than
in Matatiele, as are the general weather conditions, his yields are on a par with Bulelwa’s
in Matatiele.
VSLAs (Village Savings and Loan Associations)
The number ofLocal Village Savings Groups (LVSG)Groups increased from 13 to 19 in the year
2018. Out of the 19 groups, 16 are in Bergville, 2 in Creighton and 1 in Nokweja. The groups
consist predominantly of middle aged to elderly women with a majority who are unemployed and
depend on social and pension grants in order to survive.
The VSLA groups were established with the aim to support CA learning groups to save money for
agricultural inputs. The groups however, have received broader functions, such asmembers
saving for household needs, paying back loans, paying for school fees and buying merchandise for
their businesses. A VLS group operates for 12 months and on the thirteenth month the group has
a share out of “profits” (interest gained) and thereafter begins another cycle. During these twelve
months group members take out loans which they repay with a 10% interest fee added monthly
which is how the groups generate income and growth.
SOLVITA
CO2 Burst
CO2 - C,
ppm C
Organic C
ppm C
Organic N
ppm N
GRT 157176 15,8 11,1 10,8
Excellent
Sample #
WATER EXTRACT
C/N
SoilHealth
Calculation
(Index)
Comment
BIOLOGICAL ANALYSES
24
Table 9: Summary of VSL records for SKZN for June 2018
GRP
NO
Area
Village
GROUP NAME
YRS
ACTIVE
NO. OF
MEMBERS
#
SHARES
BOUGHT
TODAY
VALUE OF
SHARES
(TODAY)
CUM #
OF
SHARES
VALUE OF
TOTAL
SHARES
LOAN
REPAID
TODAY
LOAN
NEW LOAN
TAKEN
AMOUNT
DUE NEXT
MONTH
1
Creighton
Riverside
Senzokuhle
1
10
23
R2 400
49
R4 900
R120
R1 200
R2 300
R2 530
2
Creighton
Riverside
Masibambisane
2
13
52
R10 400
233
R46 600
R4 170
R29 100
R16 500
R32 010
3
Nokweja
Ngongonini
Ikusasa Lethu
1
12
28
R2 800
168
R16 800
R3 360
R10 840
R1 000
R9 284
TOTAL
35
103
R15 600
450
R68 300
R7 650
R41 140
R19 800
R43 824
Ngononini : Ikusasa Lethu Group
Ikusasa Lethu Group started saving in February this year. The group is made up of 10 females and two males.
The group was established as per request from the CA participants and their aim is to save up so they can have
supplementary income which they can use toward payment of subsidies, purchase of inputs and various other
commodities. They have proposed that in the coming year, the members of the group should only be CA
participants so that people can benefit from farming as well as making an extra income. The table below shows
the latest records for the group. For the month of June they saved R 2 800 and have a cumulative amount shares
that comes to R 16 8000. Existing loans are R 10 840 and the new loan is R 1000 as only one member borrowed.
One of the challenges faced by the group was that, initially the record keeper struggled to keep coherent records,
although she is improving at the moment.
Right; Members of the Ngongonini group busy with their savings process
25
Table 10: Records for the Ngongonini VSLA for June 2018
NO.
SURNAME
INITIALS
# SHARES
BOUGHT
TODAY
VALUE OF
SHARES
(TODAY)
CUM #
OF
SHARES
VALUE OF
TOTAL
SHARES
LOAN
REPAID
TODAY
LOAN
NEW LOAN
TAKEN
AMOUNT
DUE NEXT
MONTH
1
Mkhize
Z
5
R500
30
R3000
R300
R3000
R3300
2
Mkhize
NP
2
R200
8
R800
R100
R1000
R1100
3
Zulu
N
1
R100
11
R1100
R590
R400
R440
4
Kheswa
T
5
R500
30
R3000
R0
R0
5
Mkhize
L
5
R500
30
R3000
R500
R740
R814
6
Kheswa
S
1
R100
6
R600
R1100
R0
R0
7
Mkhize
L
1
R100
9
R900
R330
R0
R1,000
R1100
8
Nkabane
E
1
R100
7
R700
R60
R600
R660
9
Shezi
L
2
R200
13
R1300
R250
R2500
R2750
10
Phungula
N
1
R100
7
R700
R80
R800
R880
11
Gamede
M
2
R200
7
R700
R30
R300
R330
12
Mkhize
M
2
R200
10
R1000
R150
R1500
R1650
28
R2 800
168
R16 800
R3 490
R10 840
R1 000
R13 024
26
Madzikane: Senzokuhle Group (New Group)
The Senzokuhle Group from Madzikane started savinginMay 2018.
The group consists only of female members and has a total
membership of 10 people. All of the members are new participants
who have never worked with MDF before but heard about the
organisation through Mr Cosmos Xaba’s group and requested
assistance in starting up a savings group. In the future, they also
wish to be part of the CA. For June, their total savings came to R 2
400, and loans repaid came to R 120 and new loans were R 2 300.
Their cumulative number of shares is worth R 4 900.
Right; Members of the new group in Madzikane busy with their savings process
Yields and implementation in SKZN
Southern KZN is a fairly new area under the CA programmewith a total of 82 participants who
are mostly in the first and second year of planting CA farmer-ledexperiments. In the 2017
growing season five new groups were established primarily in the Nokweja area about 20km
from Ixopo and these are Plainhill, Ngongonini, St Elios and Emazebekweni. Another group was
also established in Plaatistat, in Enhlamvini area which is also under the uBuhlebezwe
Municipality. A number of workshops were conducted at the start of the season to prepare the
groups for planting and these included the introduction to CA as well as spraying and planting
workshops. Crop growth monitoring was conducted mid-season to assess the growth of the trials.
The groups are supported by Local Facilitators in a number of the villages. In areas where no
appropriate person comes to the fore, the field staff manage the learning group ad
implementation processes.
Table 11: Local facilitators active in the SKZN&EC region; 2017-2018
Name and Surname
Area
Region
Years under CA
1.Bonginhlanhla Dlamini
Springvalley
SKZN
2
2.Mandla Ndlovu
Ofafa
SKZN
2
3.Mandla Mkhize
Nokweja
SKZN
2
4.Cosmas Xaba
Madzikane
SKZN
2
5.Bulelwa Dzingwa
Nkau
Matatiele
5
The new participants were keen to learn about CA and its principles when the programmewas
introduced but there were some who’s interest dropped when they discovered that planting CA
trials is done by hand and each person is responsible for his/her trial. St Elios is one such area,
where only five people ended up plantingand three of them attained yields. All the participants
27
in Ngongonini and Plainhill planted the 400 m2 trials and 90% of them managed to obtain yields.
In eMazabekweni, only four participants planted and three managed to obtain yields.
Some of the challenges faced by the farmers include livestock grazing, excessive rainfall which
promoted the growth of weeds as well asrotting of beans and cowpeas due to extended wet
weather conditions and uneven growth of maize which is more linked to soil fertility. There were
also participants whos maize grew very well but the final yield was lower than expected and it
was unclear why this was the case. Cowpea yields are for the most part absent as the farmers
were not sure when to harvest cowpeas. Madzikane, Spring Valley and Ofafa started CA
experimentation in2016 and are in their second season. The following table shows the total
number of participants who have registered, planted and harvested.
Table 12: Shows the total number of participants registered, planted and harvested
Average Maize Yield
In terms of maize yield, Madzikane has the highest average yield of 3.82 t/ha and Ofafa had the
lowest yield of 0.61 t/ha. Despite the low average yield, this season was much better for Ofafa
compared to last season where most of the participants obtained no yields. This can be attributed
to the cover crops which were planted last year and an increase in rainfall. St Elios, Spring Valley
and Ngongonini had average yields ranging between 2.3 t/ha and 2.87 t/ha. In order to reach
break-even point, a commercial farmer needs to produce at least 4 t/ha of maize, but in the
smallholder farming sector yields are often far below the required threshold for the economic
viability of maize. The pie chart below shows the average yields for maize.
AREA
No of
Participants
Registered
No of Participants
Planted
No of Participants
Harvested
St Elios
9
5
3
Ngongonini
16
16
14
Emazabekweni
8
4
3
Plainhill
12
12
11
Plaatistat
13
7
5
Spring Valley
6
6
6
Ofafa
8
5
4
Madzikane
10
8
8
TOTAL
82
63
54
AREA
No of
Participants
Registered
No of Participants
Planted
No of Participants
Harvested
St Elios
9
5
3
Ngongonini
16
16
14
Emazabekweni
8
4
3
Plainhill
12
12
11
Plaatistat
13
7
5
Spring Valley
6
6
6
28
Average Legume (beans and cowpeas) Yields
Beans performed better than cowpeas in all areas, despite farmers saying that they were
adversely affected by the late summer rainfall. The highest average yield for beans was 0.6 t/ha
and the lowest was 0.12 t/ha. There were farmers who managed to get more than 1 t/ha for beans
in the intercrop plots which suggests that beans are not necessarily affected negatively by maize
as some believe. Cowpeas grew well in most areas and were effective in suppressing weeds. The
highest average yield for cowpea was 0.45 t/h and the lowest was 0.02 t/ha. The poor final yield
was mainly due to farmers not harvesting the cowpeas as well before cattle started grazing. The
bar graph below shows the average yields for beans and cowpeas in Southern KZN.
Emaza
bekwe
ni
Madzik
ane
Ngong
onini Ofafa Plaatis
tat
Plainhil
l
Spring
Valley St Elios
Beans 0.12 0.52 0.43 0.57 0.21 0.40 0.60 0.14
Cowpeas 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.49 0.15 0.45 0.39 0.09
0.00
0.10
0.20
0.30
0.40
0.50
0.60
0.70
Yield (t/ha)
Area
Average Yields for Beans and Cowpeas
Emazabekweni
, 3.31
Madzikane ,
3.82
Ngongonini,
2.32
Ofafa, 0.61
Plaatistat, 0.75
Plainhill, 1.93
SpringValley,
2.87
StElios, 2.36
Average Maize Yields for SKZN (t/ha)
Figure 5: Average Maize yields for SKZN; 2017-2018
Figure 6: Average yields for beans and cowpeas in SKZN;2017-2018
29
Implementation per area
Madzikane
Madzikane farmers are in their second year of the CA programmeand the 2017/18 growing
season has gone fairly well in terms of maize yields, but very poorly when it comes to beans and
cowpeas. Eight out of the ten participants managed to harvest maize and the yields were collected
for seven of them as one participant, Mrs Xaba was not available when visited by the team. Bean
and cowpea yields were quite poor with only three participants who harvested beans and no
participants harvested cowpeas.
Planting
Four out of the eight participants planted using the two-row tractor drawn planter and these were
Cosmos Xaba, Msizakali Dlamini, Mrs Shozi and Mrs Mkwana and the rest planted using hand
hoes. The two row planter was introduced this season as a way to support farmers with larger
plots that may not be easily planted using hand hoes or the MBLI planter. The biggest advantage
of the two row planter was that it allowed for planting of intercrop plots in half the amount of
time. Also, the planter reduced labour and the amount of fertiliser applied as the overall amount
of fertiliser applied using the two- row planter was less than the fertiliser applied by hand or
through broadcasting.
Crop
Growth Monitoring
In the trialsthat were monitored germination was 70-85% for maize and was not easy to quantify
for beans due to the overgrowth of weeds. Germination and growth of cowpeas was poor in most
of the trials. The participants planted maize intercropped with beans and cowpeas and their trials
were 400 m2with the exception of Msizakali Dlamini and Cosmos Xaba who planted the bigger
trials. Crop growth was good for maize which was dark green and had medium to large cobs. Some
of the farmers had problems with birds and rats that ate the maize. Cover crops were planted in
between the maize and beans while the trials were still growing. The farmers battled with weeds
this season despite havingplanted cover crops and they alluded this to heavyrains. Weeds
included both broadleaf and grass species which had a negative impact on final yield, especially
for beans which were also adversely affected by the rain.
Figure 7: (Left) planting with the two row planter, (centre) Fields that has been planted by the two row planter,
(right) Maize that was planted using the two row planter
30
Results
The yields for the control plots ranged from 0.87-6.55 t/ha where three participants had yields
above 4 t/ha which is the economical break-even point for maize production. The yields for the
trials ranged between 1.77 and 4.92 t/ha withmost participants ranging between 2.5 and 3.5
t/ha. When comparing the trial vs. control yields, 57% of the participants attained trial yields that
were higher than the control yields, however the average yield for the control was higher than
the average yield of the trials (refer to figure 9), although the difference was not significant.
Figure 8: (Top left) maize grew well vigorously and was dark green, (top centre) good cob growth,
(top right) maize intercropped with legumes and cover crops, (bottom left) winter and summer cover
crops, (bottom centre) maize and legume intercrop plot with weeds overgrown , (bottom right) maize
cob eaten by rats and birds
31
Below are small case studies for a few individuals from Madzikane.
Bawinile Mtolo
Bawinile Mtolo is an elderly woman and is also a first year CA participant who lives with her son
and grandchildren. Her trial was 400 m2and she attained a maize yield of 2.59 t/ha for the trial
and 0.87 t/ha for her control. When it comes to beans she attained a yield of 0.84 t/ha and 0 t/ha
for cowpea. The good yield for beans canbe attributed to wider inter-row spacing between the
maize and beans, which reduced overshadowing of beans by maize. She did however have a
problem with excessive growth of weeds.
4.26
4.92
3.42
4.33
2.84
1.77
4.48
3.31
0.87
2.59
3.22
3.91
6.55
3.88
0.00 2.00 4.00 6.00 8.00
Control
Trial
Control
Trial
Control
Trial
Contol
Trial
Control
Trial
Control
Trial
Control
Trial
Dlami
ni
Gamb
u Miya
Mkwa
ne Mtolo Shozi Xaba
Weight (t/ha)
Farmer Names
Madzikane Maize Trial and Control Yields
Figure 9: Madzikane maize trial and control yields
Figure 10: (left) Gogo Mtolo, (middle) trial and control maize, (right) trial beans yield
32
Cosmos Xaba
Cosmos Xaba is a dedicated farmer who has been implementing CA for about four years of which
the last two have been with Mahlathini. He is one of the programme’s leader farmers and although
his trial appeared to have been performing poorly during the growing season, he managed to
obtain a yield of 3.88 t/ha which is just below the break-even point. He had a 1000 m2 trial. For
his control he attained a yield of 6.55 t/ha. His maize germination was good but beans and
cowpeas did not germinate well, which led to an overgrowth of weeds in between the maize. He
stated that this season they had good rainfall, but it affected him negatively in terms of weeding.
The total yield for beans in Mr Xaba’s trial was 0.233 t/ha and he attained no yields for cowpeas.
The figure below shows Mr Xaba’s maize and trial yields.
Mrs Gambu
Mrs Gambu had a 400 m2and attained a yield of 4.33 t/ha for her trial and 3.31 t/ha for her control
and her yield for beans was 1.17 t/ha which was very good. The yield for her trial plot was higher
than for the control, but the control plot had bigger cobs (av. 0.266 kg) than the trial (av. 0.189
kg). Mrs Gambu was very pleased with her yield and said that she is noticing a steady
improvement. She got no yields for cowpeas.
Figure 71: (left and insert) Control yield, (right and insert) trial yield (in sacks) and grain
33
Springvalley
Spring Valley has performed reasonably well in terms of CA although there were some
participants who obtained low yields. Table 11 shows the trial and control maize yields and they
range from 0.35 t/ha to 4.764 t/ha with 67% of the participants having attained yields below 4
t/ha. Most of the participants did not plant controls due to limited space, however the two
participants who planted controls had mixed results. Bongihlanhla Dlamini attained a higher
yield of 4.764 t/ha for his trial compared to just 1.938 t/ha for his control. Letta Ngubo had a yield
of 8.80 t/ha for her control and 4.704 for the trial. Bakhulumile Shoba who had a yield of 0.3 t/ha
stated that her maize was grazed by cattle which also damaged the beans and cowpeas. She had
been away most of the time due to deaths in the family and other commitments and was thus
unable to look after the trial.
Table 13: Maize yields in Springvalley for the 2017-2018 season
Figure 12: (top) trial and control maize, (bottom) trial bean
Name SurnameExperiment
Num
ber
of
bags
Av.
weight
(kg)/bag
Av.
Weight
of cob
Av.
weight of
grain
weight of
cob +
grain
%grain
weight
Grain
weight
(kg)
area
(m2)
Weigh
t (t)
weight
(t/ha)
Bonginhlanhla
DlaminiTrial716.150 0.038 0.151 0.188 0.800142.923300 0.143 4.764
Control316.150 0.038 0.151 0.188 0.80038.761200 0.039 1.938
BakhulumileShobaTrial1 8.283 0.025 0.137 0.162 0.846 7.007200 0.007 0.350
DuduzileDlamini Trial39.328300 0.039 1.966
NomntasoMkhize Trial58.350300 0.058 2.918
MzikayiseSosiboTrial50.000 300 0.050 2.500
LettaNguboTrial94.087 300 0.094 4.704
Control (grain)141.228600 0.141 7.061
Control 220.6380.0350.1910.2260.84634.935600 0.035 1.747
TotalYield Trial: 17.203
Average Yield Trial2.867
SPRING VALLEY MAIZE YIELDS
34
Bonginhlanhla Dlamini
Bonginhlanhla Dlamini obtained a yield of 4.764 t/ha for his trialand 1.938 t/ha for his control.
For beans he obtained a yield of 1.674 t/ha and no yield for cowpea. On the sole bean plot, Mr
Dlamini had a yield of 1.23 t/ha. The beans were sold to community members at R 90per 5L
bucket. Maize was mainly for household consumption.
Mzikayise Sosibo
Mzikayise Sosibo lives with his wife and two grandchildren. The family lives in abject poverty
and survive mainly on pension grants. Mr Sosibo is one of the proactive CA participants and has
been consistent since he joined in 2016. This year he obtained a good yield for maize of 2.5 t/ha
and which he said was his best yield thus far and he is still trying to figure out what to do with it
as it is more than what he expected. In the previous season, Mr Sosibo also planted winter cover
crops which did very well and could be the reason for the improvement in yields. The yield for
the bean intercrop was 0.3
t/ha and 1.79 t/ha for the
sole bean crop. He plans to
sell the beans at R 100 per
5L. The figure below shows
his sole bean crop and de-
cobbed maize.
Figure 83: (left) control maize yields, (centre) trial maize yields, (right) trial and late beans
Figure 94: Mr Sosibo's sole beans
(left) and de cobbed maize (right)
35
Letta Ngubo
A very dedicated farmer who had a 400 m2 CA trial plot, Letta Ngubo obtained a yield of 4.70 t/ha
for the maize trial and 7.06 t/ha for the control. She lives alone with a 6 month old baby who is
her granddaughter and tends to her fields all by herself. She is a very hard worker, whos fields,
both trial and control, are always well kept with less than 5% weeds. For beans she got 0.9 t/ha
and for cowpeas she got ayield
of 0.45 t/ha. She also
intercropped her maize and
legumes with summerand
winter cover crops.
Plainhill
Mbongwa Khoza
Mbongwa Khoza is 66 years old, planted a
trial plot on the field which is <400m2. He
does not have a control plot because the
space was very limited. At first the crops
were not performing very well on the trial.
Maize was yellow and beans did not
germinate well and it waswilting. The
farmer seems to be discouraged and he
hardly weeded his plot. The yields that
were obtained for maize were 1, 864t/ha.
Unfortunately, he did not obtain any yields
for legumes (beans and cowpeas) due to
poor germination at an initial stage.
The crops picked up after LAN application.
It wasquit surprising and motivating to see
that he got maize with very good quality
grains and large cobs. He was happy and
well-motivated because he was not
expecting to get the amount of yields he
got.
Figure 15: Letta Ngubo's Maize Trial
(left) and Maize Control Yield (right)
Figure 16: A sample of Mbongwa Khoza's Maize cobs (left) and grain
(right). He did not plant a control
36
Philisiwe Sosibo
She is 66 years old lady who lives with a family of 8 and she is unemployed. She planted on a
400m2 plot, the soil of her plot was characterised as very rock hence productive. He managed to
get 0,614t/ha of beans and 2,376 t/ha of maize. Trial plot had four plots of maize intercropped
with beans then cowpeas was planted as a sole crop on a separate plot. She harvested good yields
of cowpeas which was 0,6t/ha.
#
Lindiwe Chonco
She is 60 years old, she joined CA programme because she loves farming. She planted on a 300m2
plot. She got 1,300 t/ha of beans and 1,537 t/ha decobbedmaize. Maize and beans was
intercropped. Cowpeas was planted as a sole crop; no yields were obtained for cowpeas because
it was grazed by livestock. She will use the maize as Brewing malt.
Figure 17: (left) maize cobs from trial plots, (centre) bean trial yield, (right) cowpeas
Figure 108: Maize Grain (left), bean yield (right).
37
Emazabekweni
Million Ngubane
He is 69 years old, he is very
passionate about farming in
a way that he does not only
produce for his family, he
also sells his produce. He is a
breadwinner of 11 family
members and he is farming
for a living.
He implements both the trial
and the control. In the trial
plot he planted PAN6479.
The farmer is not sure what
the cultivar he used on the
control is. He has been using
this cultivar for a long time
and he has already found a market to sell the produce. Mr Ngubane was very impressed with the
yields and the crop quality he obtained from the trial plot. He testifies that although the trial was
intercropped with beans,it still gave him higher yields than the control plot. The farmer wishes
to get yellow maize which can give him similar yields to PAN 6479.
The trial plot yields were 6,719t/ha and the control plot maize were 4,549 t/ha.
Heobtained 0,100 t/ha for the bean intercrop. Separately he
planted a 135m long line of Gadra beans as sole crop which
gave him 3,028 t/ha. He did not harvest cowpeas.
Figure 1119: (left) Control maize, (right) trial maize yield
Figure20: Million Ngubane's sole bean yield (left and centre), sole bean crop (right)
38
Eric Latha
He is 60 years old and having retired from work, is focusing on farming to generate income. Apart
from maize he is also planting and selling beans, amadumbeand sweet potatoes. The trial plot
yields are 2,61t/ha and the control plot yields is 1.35t/ha. He did not get any yields for beans, as
itrotted due to excessive late season rainfall.Cowpeas were planted in one plot and no yields
were obtained.
Thembekile Mchunu
Thembekile’s school going son Qiniso managed the CA trial of ???m2. He wasassisted by his
mother, but the yields were not good. The trial was planted on fallow land which is not fertile and
planting was done late. Thembekile plans to use a different plot in the coming season. The yield
for maize was 0,886 t/ha. There was no control plot.
Figure 21: Eric Latha's trial grain and cobs
Figure 122: Qiniso Mchunu's maize trial yield
39
Ngongonini
Sebenzile Mthethwa
She is living with a family of 8 people working under CWP. The trial plot was 200m2. She obtained
a yield of 2.64 t/ha for maize, 0,31 t/ha for beans and did not harvest cowpeas as they rotted in
the field.
Eunice Nkabini
She is a 39 years old lady, who is living with 6 family members. She is working as domestic worker
in one of the neighbouring households within the community. Trial plot size was 400m2 with no
control. Bean yields obtained was 0,402 t/ha and maize yield was 2.082 t/ha. Cowpeas were not
harvested.
Buyisile Kheswa
She is a very passionate farmer who is unemployed living with a family of 4. The trial plot size is
400m2and she didn’t have a control plot. She harvested 0,374 t/ha beans and 6,147 t/ha maize
which she is intending to use for making brewing malt.
Figure 24: Shows Sebenzile’s trial maize yields
Figure 135: Shows the trial maize yield (cob and grain) for Eunice
40
Cingeni Kheswa
She is a pensioner who is passionate about farming. She planted a 400m2trial but there was no
control plot. In her trial she obtained 0,684 t/ha of beans and 3,66 t/ha of maize. Cowpeas went
rotten and were not harvested.
Figure 26: (left) Cingeni Kheswa, (right) trial maize yield
Figure 27: Shows Cingeni’s trial Maize yield
41
St Elois
Joseph Kheswa
He is 59 years old and unemployed. He is
very passionate about fishing and
farming. He is producing for household
consumption and he spends most of his
time fishing in the nearest river. He
obtained 0.994 t/ha of maize and 0.652
t/ha and 0,652 kg beans on a 400m2 trial
plot.
Mkhanyisi Mbanjwa
He is 58 years old, unemployed and generatesincome from farming. He is growing vegetables and
sells produce locally. He obtained good yields of 4,259t/ha of maize, 0,750t/ha beans and
0.25t/ha cowpeas from the trial plot.
Plaatistat
Jabulile Shoba
She is 52 years old and is the chairperson of the community organisation. She planted a 400m2
CA trial and control plot. She obtained 1,36t/ha of maize in her trial plot and she obtained
2,27t/ha of maize on a control plot. No yields
were obtained for beans and cowpeas.
Figure 28: Shows the trial maize yield as well
as bean yield
Figure 29: Shows
the Maize trial
yield for M
Mbanjwa
Figure 30: Mrs Shoba had mixed her trial
and control maize as she did not have
enough space. Some of the maize was on
the roof of her house
42
Mthokozisi Shabane
He is a young 30 year old, unemployed
farmer. He ispassionate about farming.
He started only in late December and
managed to harvest 1,321 t/ha of beans,
0,4325 t/ha cowpeas and 0,375 t/ha
maize on his 450m2 trial plot.
Tholakele Shange
She is 52-years old. The demonstration plot was done in her field. She had no harvests due to
cattle invasions in her field.
Figure 31: (left) Mthokozisi Shabane,
(right) some of the trial maize yield
Figure 32: Tholakele Shange(left), planting the demonstration trial plot together (middle) and her trial which was eaten by
crows (right)
43
EC: Matatiele implementation progress
Introduction
Implementation in Matatiele has continued mostly under the direction and with support from
the Local Facilitator, Bulelwa Dzingwa. Villages where she was active include Nkau, Moqhobi,
Sehutlong and Khutsong.
For the past five years this area has proven challenging to work with. It has proven hard to grow
anything on sandy soils with poor to no organic matter; rainfall variability hasn’t made the
situation any easier. Participants who planted earlyon in the season saw crop failure due to no
moisture and had to replant. Their second attempts were very good, growth was good and bean
harvests were very good for some, mainly in Moqhobi. In Sekhutlong, Mrs Mamolelekeng Lebueoa
continues on getting positive results since her firstyear in program and is now getting creative
with her experimentation.
Sekhutlong
There are now only three participants in this area who are still part of the programmeas they
have seen some improvement in their crops and soils and are still keen to continue despite bad
weather. Mamolelekeng is the one participant givinghope to others that their soils can still
change over time. Mamolelekeng has been pumping cattle manure intoher plot for years now and
this has greatly increased her organic matter and soil structure. Her soils are nice and dark brown,
able to hold water and supply nutrients and this is evident in her tall maize with strong roots. Her
tall maize did a sterling job in shadingout weeds hence very little weeds on the plot. This year
she planted 6 plots mid-December using seed from last year. She planted two sole maize plots,
one sole bean plot and three maize-bean intercrop plots and no cowpea. Below are pictures taken
from hertrial, on the right, plots of sole beans and behind that maize-bean intercrop, on the left
is her beans drying at different times and some rotting already.
Although her crops are looking good there seems to be a disease attacking her maize. This was
spotted last season and it seems to be spreading in the plot, more and more maize cobs come out
deformed with something looking like rot. She was advised to take out all stalks withthis disease
as this would spread even more on her plot compromising her yield.
The disease is head smut, a fungal disease caused by Sphacelotheca reiliana.It is soil borne and
more prevalent in areas where plants are stressed. It would unfortunately be favoured in the CA
system with residues left on the soil. In addition livestock should not be fed infected materials as
Figure 33: Mamolelekng's crops
44
the disease is further spread in their manure.
Removal and burning of infected material and a
rigorous process of crop rotation is advised
Figure 34: head smut on maize plants in Mamolelekeng’s
field.
Mamolelekng has two neighbours either side of
her house; Matsepo and Malerato. Malerato is
doing somewhat better than Matsepo in terms
of her maize bearing mostly two cobs per stalk;
it’s tall with a nice green colour, planted 30
November 2017. She is not having a good
season with her beans on the one plot she
planted asthey poorly germinated and of
whatever germinated died off. Malerato has a
control a bit bigger than the trial and isthe only
person with something to compare trials to. Her
control plot was ploughed and planted to
traditional seed with no fertilizer. Malerato’s maize is looking very good, despite weeds on the
plot, cobs have formed and weeds do not have a greatest of impacts. She has already started eating
her maize green and has been keeping records. Matsepo on the on other hand has maize looking
quite bad but with beans looking more promising (middle picture). Matsepo’s maize at the edge
of the plot where she had put mulch the previous season(left picture), is looking good with cobs
forming early, while maize further in the plot lost the battle to weeds competing for nutrients
evident through pale green coloured leaves and short stalks(right picture).
Figure 35: Left: Maize growing on a previously mulched plot looks good. Middle: bean crop maturing and Right most of
the trial lost the battle to weeds
45
Figure 36: Malerato's maize looking
green and healthy
Nkau
Our local facilitator, Bulelwa
Dzingwa, has been faced with a
tough time when her son fell ill
during the planting season and
this greatly impacted on her
work and support forother
participants. She also planted
her own plot quite late and this
has meant poor growth and
overgrowth of weedson her
plots.
Figure 37: Bulelwa's pale green maize planted late and cover crop plot infested with weeds
Noluthando Pili, a second year participant in the programme, planted her trial in time and crops
are showing signs of health with cobs fully formed and
maturing. She grows maize for both eating green and milling
for maize meal; she also grows most of her vegetables such as
tomatoes, green peppers, brinjals, cabbage and chilies all for
household consumption and only sells surplus.
Mme Noluthando had a good season last year and she is
convinced that CA is the way to gofor her and family in their
small plot. They are able to grow avariety of food, cheaper and
more sustainably, which is why she decided to plant her
control plot using CA as well, also doing the maize and bean
intercrop. She put in cover crops and her sunflowersare
ready. Shealso has her daughter involved in the programme
and is interested in working closely with the project team for
experience and exposure.
Figure 38: Noluthandos; maize and sunflower intercrop
46
Mqhobhi
Moqhobi is an Nkau extension area in its second year on the CA farmer level trial experimentation
process. Things did not go well in the first season with a lot of people very pessimistic about CA
and they were proven rightwhen crops did not grow well while control plots did considerably
better. Thapelo Ramanyali and Mfana Khokhotho’s plots, were the only two plots that showed
hope in the CA process in the first year. This second year CA trials have shown even better results
to those of conventional plots almost in the entire village, minimum tillage plots have thick and
tall maize stalks, with maize somewhat still green bythe end ofMay toearly June period of the
year, where most maize is definitely dry. To us this is a sign of increasing soil health able to keep
water for longer, which is also evident in big maize cobs.
For Morena Khokhotho, the CA practice did wonders withhis beans as he got a total of about 40kg
where he had beans intercropped with maize and some sole bean plots. He is convinced that CA
boosts soil fertility through intercrop and cover crops and that provides nutrients for his next
crop to flourish. From his bean harvest, he will keep 20kg for his family and sell the other 20kg as
he realizes CA as both a food source given an income generating activity for what they cannot
grow.
Figure 39: Right;
Ocean Khokhotho's
plot with sunflower
planted were there
were beans. Left, a
thick, tall, green
maize stalk with a
nice big cob.
Khutsong
After five years of poor results, Tsoloane Mapheelle is still keen to experiment with CA in the hope
that his soils will change for the better. For the past season we have tried intercropping maize
and beans and relaying that with summer and winter cover crops, but little has happened.
Tsoloane has also tried planting more annual crops such as rye grass and Lucerne, but lack of
irrigation saw little grow and impact of the crops. Still keen to continue we have opted to change
to splitting his plot to 10m x 10mplots planting various crops, some intercrop and some sole
crops and rotating the plot every year. Mr Tsoloane is keen on the idea and is aware that this will
require more manual labour doing smaller plots morecarefully than using the oxen drawn
planter as we have for the past seasons.
47
Tsoloane’s cover crops are growing very well and are now a bit taller than they were since the
last visit. He will be bringing in his livestock to graze, but he will allow them strict grazing periods
per day, so as to have more days to graze. Cover crops grew very well due to late season rains.
Figure 4114: Tsoloane Mapheele's cover crops
Spontaneous adopters
There have been local people looking at the trial over the years and attendingfarmers days to see
if what we preach actuallyhappens. Some individuals decided to wait and see before joining in
the process. One such person is Tsoarelo Motsoko. Tsoarelo is a local young man who has been
growing and selling broilers and producing potatoes, maize and beans for his family and for
income for quite some years now. There are two adultsin his family; employed at the local
primary school aspart time teachers through the school’s governing body and a child receiving a
support grant. Amidst unemployment uncertainty he figured doing agriculture wasthe cost
effective way of providing food and generating an income but he was faced with problems where
his maize refused to prosper.
Figure 40: Tsoloane's
cover crops looking
good in between the
maize, beans that
germinated died off
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He was thinking his seed might be old as well as he has been using traditional seed for his maize
and beans. He then asked our local facilitator in Bulelwa Dzingwa if he could try it out with MFD’s
inputs and fortunately for him there were inputs available. He planted a 400m² plot of maize-
bean and maize-cowpea on 14thDecember 2018 and planted his control on the 18thDecember
2018. Gramaxone was sprayed before planting using hand hoes, growth has been very good and
he has weeded once. He then later broadcasted and raked a mix of cover crops in the plots when
maize was well
developed; the mix
was that of millet,
sunflowers and
sunnhemp. Birds
feasted on his millet
and sunflowers but
hemanaged a 5kg
sunflower harvest.
He managed a 2.5kg
bean and 1.5kg
cowpea harvest;
most cowpea went
rotten in the plots.
His maize looked
very promising.
Conclusion
Mqhobi, the Nkau expansion area from last year, had to plant twice this season due to crop failure
from delayed rains. Socially things have also been difficult, as we had a participant passing away
last year and that was quite a blow as Mr Tsatsi was one of the active people in the newly formed
learning group. This year only two participants planted and things are looking better.
Figure 41:Above left, Tsoarelo Motsoko standing next to his tall green maize. Top right, Tsoarelo's
control plot and bottom right, Tsoarelo's plot from a distance
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Stakeholder interaction- Innovation platforms
The table below summarises the networking, awareness raising and stakeholder forum
interactions for the 2017-2018 season related to this project area.
ACTIVITIES
STAKEHOLDERS
Networking
- DARD Colloquium on development of
Smallholder Agriculture Provincial Policy
(16-17Nov 2017): Presentations on farmer
centres and VSLAs
-Participation in the CA working group set up
through the Grain SA CA facilitator and
provision of thematic input on progress and
soil health (Mazwi Dlamini) (Feb 2018)
-CA planting and demonstration day in
Nokweja; using 2 row planter (December
2017)
-PROLINNOVA (Programme for Local
Innovation Development)- Workshop (Feb
2018)
- REITZ Regenerative Agriculture Conference
(April 2018) attendance
-Ubuhlebezwe LM Agric Forum quarterly
meetings (Oct, and Dec 2017,April, June
2018). Presentations on progress with CA
work in the LM.
-No-till Conference attendance-Drakensville
(4-6 Sept 2018)
Nqe Dlamini (AtratAct),
MDF -
GrainSA, Maize Trust and
CA FIP projects, MDF
DARD, GrainSA FDP, ADA
MDF staff, INR and other
NGO representatives
MDF staff, interns
attendance
MDF staff, Nqe Dlamini
(StratAct)
- MDF staff, interns
attendance
Madzikane
stakeholder
forum
Awareness/ open day in association with
Landcare (12 Dec 2017)
DARD, LandCare, KwaNalu,
Cedara farming Systems
Unit, MDF
Planning meetings with kwaNalu for a
stakeholder meeting around Land us
management and funding options (16 March,
9 April 2018)
KwaNalu, Cedara farming
Systems Unit, StratAct, MDF
Continuation of negotiations around applying
for Cooperative funding through DSBD (Dept
of Small Business Development) (May-Aug
2018) Meeting held on 18 July 2018
KwaNalu, StratAct, MDF
Springvalley
Awareness/ open day in association with
Landcare (12 Dec 2017)
DARD, LandCare, KwaNalu,
Cedara farming Systems
Unit,StratAct, UKZN (Food
Security)
Matatiele;
Mqobhi
Soil health and CA open day (7 June 2018)
Papers and presentations
An article has been published in the SA Grain magazine entitled:
- Local best practice options in CA investigated. SAGRAIN March 2018. M Dlamini and E Kruger.
Three papers have been compiled for presentation at conferences:
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- Within Conservation Agriculture work session, a presentation called “ CA
Innovations Systems for Smallholder Farmers: A focus on soil health” (E Kruger) for
the Land Rehabilitation Society of Southern Africa(LaRSSA) conference in
Drakensberg, 14 August 2018
- A Paper called “Learning CA the Innovation Systems Way” (E Kruger) for the 2ACCA
conference 15-17 September 2018, Benoni, Gauteng. (Paper submitted and
accepted). 2nd African Congress on Conservation Agriculture.
- A paper called “Learning CA the Innovation Systems Way” (T Mathebula, E Kruger,
M Dlamini and H Smith), for the 8thBiennial LandCare Conference in
Bloemfontein, 25-27 September 2018.
Madzikane Stakeholder meeting -11 July 2018
This meeting is reported here as an example of the attempts being made in providing agency and
empowerment for farmers in working wand negotiating with external stakeholders.
Figure 33: farmer participants
at the stakeholder meeting.
Introduction
Farmers in the
Madzikane Forum, led
specifically by Mr Xaba
and in association with
KwaNalu called a
stakeholder meeting to
present to potential
support organisations
the farming they have
been doing and their future plans. Stakeholders invited included the Traditional Authority,
representatives from theLocal and District Municpality and KZN DARD. MDFand Lima were also
invited. Ms M.Y Malunga from the Dr. NDZ (LM)office and Mr L Jongisa from Harry Gwala DM
office did not attend.This was especially disappointing to local farmers who had a lot of questions
to ask the local municipality and district officials.
Purpose of the day delivered by Mr Xaba
The purpose of the day was to see what local farmers have been planting so far. This year they
had heavy late season rains, after a dry start but despite this they harvested a lot of beans,
cabbages and maize. There were however quite a few reported incidents of theft of maize in the
fields.
The farmers are seeing a lot of progress thus far. Planting trialshave been a big contributor to
their success, as it expands their knowledge, and helps them to differentiate between seed
varieties and makes it possible to choose between different seed varieties according to their
planting abilities and cost. Mr Xaba added that they are now farming on more land and livestock
have increased since the programme started. The farmers brought and displayed different
varieties of maize, cabbages and beans. Unfortunately potatoes were not on display, all harvested
potatoes were sent to the market.
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Mr Xaba took the participants through the different varieties of maize farmers have been
experimenting with, through assistance both from MDF and DARD
Variety name
Picture
Comments
PAN12
All PANAR seeds are produced in
Greytown, they are expensive but
produce bigger maize cobs.)
PAN12 produces very
sweet maize with big
cobs.
PAN6R680R
GM variety, so
Roundup can be
sprayed. Pesticides are
also sprayed prior to
planting
MONSANATO 7374 and
MOSANTO 4080
GM varieties; both for
eating and selling
PAN14
Did not use round up.
No-till practice to plant
these seeds.
52
SC701
This is a white variety
for dry maize and can
usually bring in a lot of
money
SAHARA
This is an OPV with
seeds similar to
traditional maize. a 240
chemical spray is used
to fight off any plant
diseases.
Beans:Ukulinga
Pumpkin: Maybuakhulu
53
Kwanalu Farmers Union (Roy Dandala)
Mr Dandala from
Kwanalu (WaZuu Natal
Agricultural Union) was
amongst the invited
guests as one of the
stakeholders working
with local farmers in
Madzikane. He opened
his introduction to
KwaNalu by mentioning
that the focus of this day should be centred on the challenges faced by farmers followed by ways
to collaborate with other organizations to try and solve these challenges.
The union works to find ways to solve challenges faced by local farmers, support farmers and
represent their interests. This is achieved by collaborating with private and public sector partners
and establishing networks. They also refer farmers to local municipalities and district offices for
assistance. There are multiple organizations workingtogether to improve the livelihoods of the
Madzikane community.
In Madzikane, the union has been working closely withMr Xaba one of the local farmers and
Hlanganani to find ways to promote and support farmers. Mr Dandala emphasised that the need
for farmers to organize themselves because working in teams allows for quicker and better access
to information to solve common and recurring issues.
Currently the following organizations are working in Madzikane with local farmers:
a.Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs: Providing beans seedlings
(trials) and PANAR maize seeds (trails)
b.Mahlathini Development Foundation: maize and beans (trials)
c.LIMA: potatoes
Kwanalu Farmers Union hopes this will continue because it is in the best interest of local small
scale farmers. Mr Dandala made a finalnote requesting more engagement with all stakeholders
working in Madzikane.
54
Mr S. Dlamini from the District Office (DARD)
Mr Dlamini from the Department of
Agriculture and Rural Development (see
picture above) working in the Ingwe
Municipality gave a brief address on the issue
of delivery of agricultural extension services
to local farmers. He mentioned two areas: 1)
Political shifts in government and 2) Criteria
to receive services.
1)Political changes in government affect
programme development. This is an
important issue because when a new
official gets into office he/she may
develop their programmes which ends all other programmes in place. This is an issue that
government cannot deal with immediately which delays deliveryof services and
equipment to farmers.
2)They start working with farmers who have 5 hectares of land or more which excludes a
lot of farmers with less land. This is an issue because most small scale farmers work have
less than 5 hectares of land.
Question and Answer session: Issues raised by farmers
a)Delivery of facilities and services: One home One garden programme: The community did
not receive all services and facilities after the workshop presented by government where
delivery of services and facilities were promised. Delivery of tractors: Tractor taken back
before farmers could use it.
b)Lack of commitment ;There is a lack of support from government departments in
Madzikane. As Mr Xaba puts it, ‘‘Where is the assistance?’’ ‘‘whose job is it to help the
community’’ ‘‘what is governments role?’’.He added that, Mahlathini Development
Foundation is the first organization to come to Madzikane and actually deliver on their
promises. It seems that the government is not focused on helping farmers in Madzikane,
instead its focus is on neighbouring communities such as Bulwer where farmers already
have a lot services and facilities directed at them. The government is good at making
promises, promising funding and service providers who will help farmers to no avail.
c)Land reform in relation to farming:Land was given to farmers inneighbouring
communities but those local black farmers have given white farmers to use the land
instead and do not use themselves to farm. There is a need to monitor the land reform
process because there are a lot of questions surrounding the question, ‘‘What is
happening on the land’’ and ‘‘Who is using the land?’’.
d)Access to markets : Farmers are harvest a lot of maize but do not have a market where
they can sell their produce. Mr Xaba mentioned that, they are not makinga lot of the
money back that’s spent of seedlings and other farming equipment. The King of
Madzikane mentioned that, the government is neglecting its responsibility to help
farmers with this issue. He further stated that, Mr Mdletshe and Mr Jongisa from the
55
District office the officials who are not present are the right people to speak on this matter
but aren’t presentwhich is sign that the government doesnot take Madzikane farmers
issues seriously. During a local house meeting in February this issue was raised including
not having enough tractors, the government has enough money to assist farmers but
chooses not to.
Answer: The District office representative Mr Dlamini explained that, there is a shortage of
equipment including tractors and drivers to deliver to all local farmers in the district. This has
resulted in farmers having to wait long periods of time. The tractors are leased from service
providers whose delivery of services are audited every three years, issues raised in this meeting
will be raised in another meeting with and Mr L Jongisa and Mr Mdletshe from Harry Gwala
district office who will try resolve these. This issue on political changes in government cannot be
solved at local government level and extension officers present do not have answers to these
questions. In terms of farmers access to markets the department urges farmers to please contact
the district office to get in contact with the unit that can assist them (unit not mentioned). Finally,
he expressed disappointment with only 24 farmers in attendance at the meeting.
Conclusion
The meeting was planned for farmers to share their experiences, farmingpractices, challenges
and opportunities with the relevant stakeholders invited. However, as soon as the programme
started it was clear that the farmers were not in control of the space they created to express their
concerns. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Developmentwere invited as guests but by
the end of the programme it seemed that they were in charge. Farmers need to have a better
understanding of what these created spaces are forand how they limit engagement rather than
empower them. Irrespective of this issue local farmers were able to ask questions and expressed
their concerns to the government representatives regarding delivery ofagricultural extension
services, land reform and access to markets.
Summary of issues and learnings from individual visits and
monitoring
Uptake of CA in Southern KZN has been a lot more promising than in the North-eastern
parts of Eastern Cape.
In Southern KZN there is a more definite distinction between larger cropping fields away
from homesteads and homestead plots and fields. For the larger fields farmers are not
prepared to work there unless some form of mechanisation is offered. Given also their
inability to pay for inputs for these larger areas there is a high expectation of support for
inputs.
Both DARD and Grain SA- FDP provide mechanisation and input support for larger fields.
Both organisations focus on GM varieties of maize and soy in these fields, although DARD
also provides hybrid maize seed.
The introduction of the two row tractor drawn planter has been well received in
Madzikane and implementation is to be expanded to other SKZN villages in the future
The season has been somewhat difficult; resultingin heat stress in maize and yellowing
and dying off of beans
Partnerships are being forged with LandCare, DARD and the LocaL Municipalities, as well
as the FDP of GrainSA in implementation and awareness raising.
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Planting of Summer and winter cover crop mixes as a relay crop in the intercropped plots
is still only meeting with marginal success. The MDF team is to push harder for
participants to take on rotational planting of cover crop plots
There are a few larger conceptual issues that may need some consideration going into the
future of this programme
Research and implementation aspects of the programme may need to be separated to an
extent, so that greater focus can be provided to both, especially as the expansion into new
areas leads to many smallholder participants.
Stakeholder forums require the support and active participation of external role players;
which can not always be achieved; more specifically for Government Departments and
Municipalities who provide very little real assistance to smallholders, despite the rhetoric.
The two-row planters is much in demands in a few areas in SKZN. Careful planning will
need to be done to ensure coherence and timely planting.