Institute of Natural Resources (INR) multistakeholder
innovation meeting.
This report serves to give detail of the innovation meeting that took place in Mbhava on the
13th of September 2023 held by the Institute of Natural Resources (INR). The purpose of the
meeting was for the multistakeholders present at the meeting to showcase different
innovations they have come up with and share with the rest of the group present at the
The day started off with breakfast upon arrival of the stakeholders present at the meeting.
We were welcomed by the Induna Mr Ngubane and Brigid briefed us on the purpose of the
day. Brigid then introduced other projects then the INR is currently engaging on namely
EliFANS which supports local innovations by farmers and the JNCC Springs project which
supports setting up of springs in the area. We then moved on to the introductions of the
different stakeholders involved present at the meeting. Amongst the stakeholders that were
present at the meeting we had the INR, Mahlathini Development Foundation team and
farmers, the Department of Agriculture, the king Gcumisa, the iNduna Mr Ngubane, the
University of KwaZulu Natal masters’ students, and the innovators of Mbhava.
Figure 1: group of innovators from uMbhava.
The programme went on to showcasing the different innovations by the farmers that were
present. Amongst these innovations we had the following:
Gas stove stokvels (Andiswa)
The stokvel group currently has four members, but more people want to join in. Basically,
the group developed this stokvel to collect monies from the members and then buy gas
stoves for all the members in the group. They have managed to buy everyone in the group
these gas stoves. The group decided on this because of the issue of loadshedding in the
area, which has become an everyday issue. These gas stoves would assist them in their
families for warming and cooking purposes whenever there is no electricity.
Processing of Amadumbe (Gugu Zondi)
This farmer said she plants a whole lot of amadumbe then mashes them to make fat cakes
and uphuthu. She said she thought of this idea to make the amadumbe more appetising to
her kids, add value to what she plants and not let it go to waste and lastly to ensure food
security in her household.
Sweet potato juice (MaGida Magwaza)
This farmer also plants a whole lot of sweet potato in her fields and has a limited market to
distribute to, so her sweet potato ends up being rotten because it is not being sold and it
cannot all be eaten. She then thought of an idea to process her sweet potatoes and make
sweet potato juice. She said the juice is very healthy and a great supply for nutrients in the
Peanut butter (Londiwe and Hlalisile)
These farmers plant nuts in their households/gardens and process them to make peanut
butter. They decided upon this idea because of the price fluctuations of food in
supermarkets, they thought they should try to make their own food at home instead of
spending a lot of money buying from supermarkets. They also said that since they have been
planting nuts before and used to sell them as raw as they are ripe, it would be a good idea
to process them into something they could use in their homes, for instance they now use
this peanut butter to make sandwiches for their children.
Rabbit manure (Mam Gumede)
Mam Gumede said she came up with the idea of using rabbit manure as crop fertilizer and
soil amendment because she wanted to eliminate the use of chemical manure which is the
main cause of human diseases that we now face as humans. She said that the rabbit manure
diluted in water (with a ratio of 1:5) helps in the formation of earthworms which improves
soil fertility. She further moved on to say that rabbit urine is good for repelling pests and
disease control. It should be kept for 6 weeks and then diluted in water with a ratio of 1:5
and then sprayed on the plants.
Figure 1: rabbit manure production.
Market (Mahlathini Development Foundation Farmers)
The Ozwathini farmers brought their produce to the meeting for sale. The produce they
brought includes spinach, cabbages, beetroot, beans, oranges, lemons, and they also
brought eggs. The farmers did not manage to sell much of their produce since the people
present at the meeting already had their own produce in their households. In total the
farmers managed to make a total of R290.
Figure 2: Mahlathini farmers showcasing and selling their produce.
UKZN presentation (Drones)
The UKZN masters’ students presented on the research they are currently busy with which is
on the use of drones in farms. Basically, this will assist farmers in measuringwater available
and its scarcity on their crops and collect data to identify the best place to build a dam,
determining areas of low yield and predict expected yield, identify weed infestations or any
geographic issues, keeping close eyes on herds to keep animals safe, spotting diseases on
crops to help farmers spray pesticide only at the time and place it is needed, and helping
farmers see all their land at a geographical point of view.
In conclusion, the meeting went well although there were shortcomings such as the group
of the Mbhava innovators arriving very late leading to the meeting starting an hour late. The
group of innovators did not explain how they came up with the innovations and the method
of making these products in respect of innovation. The innovations would have been more
informative if there was a session of questions and answers and the innovators had
different stations to answer the questions and clearly explain their method and procedures
when making these products. There were also long conversations by iNduna during his
presentation that were not relevant to the purpose of the meeting whereby he was
addressing the issues of the youth in the community not willing to go and further their
studies in agriculture so that they would come back and work for the community. The
meeting ended up being more of a community-issue based meeting rather than a meeting
of showcasing different innovations.