Meeting Report
Association For Rural Advancement
Focus Area:
Food Systems Project
Name of Meeting:
Agro-Ecological Orientation
18 February 2021
Enaleni Farm
Lungelo Buthelezi, Mazwi Dlamini, Donna Hornby, Sibahle Mthembu, Nokuthula Mthimunye,
Mondli Zondi, Ayanda Madlala, Babhekile Nene, Dumazile Nxusa, Sli Miya, Temakholo Mathebula,
Dolly Mzobe, Nokwanda Gwamanda, Mildred Myeza, Sbongile Ndlovu, Lindiwe Zondi, Constance
Mcanyana, Nomusa Ndlela, Dolly Chamane, Nontokozo Mdletshe, Samkelisiwe Mkhize, Thobile
Agro-ecological orientation at Enaleni Farm
Small scale farmers toconnect with farm dwellers (who have an interest in farming)
around agricultural activities.
Learn about agro-ecological farming practices and explore these in their own gardens.
Possible marketing strategies that famers can use to attract customers.
Members of Qina Mbokodo (supported by Association for Rural Advancement-AFRA) farm
dweller women’s structure consisting of members from 7 local municipalities within
uMgungundlovu District and aiming to strengthen the voices of women) and small scale farmers
(supported by Mahlathini Development Foundation-MDF) from Ozwathini took part in an agro-
ecological orientation on the 18thof February. This exercise involved participants who either have
an interest in farming or are alreadypracticing farming to learning more about using land/space
available to them.
An orientation at Enaleni Farm seemed the perfect fit asit is relatively small scale, 10ha agro-
ecological farm, a working example of the celebration and diversity of heritage breeds. The mixed
farming system of plants and animals presented participants with an opportunity to ponder the
relationship between animals, plants and a non-industrialised approach toland usage and food
Meeting Report
Association For Rural Advancement
Pictures below illustrate some of what participants saw during the farm orientation:
An example of animals (chicken and
rabbit) sharing the same space,
something that was foreign to
Goat cheese processed in Enaleni Farm.
Intercropping of different plants. In the
picture is maize intercropped with
Meeting Report
Association For Rural Advancement
Meeting Report
Association For Rural Advancement
An example of a product processed on
the farm, stewed apricots
Homemade pasta and other foods
processed in the background.
Participants taking a tour in Enaleni farm and engaging with farmer owner
through Q&A.
Meeting Report
Association For Rural Advancement
After the orientation around the farm, participants hada discussion session to share what they
had learnt, what they would like to practice in their gardens, what they wouldlike to see more of
and shared questions that they still had. Below are their responses;
i.Lessons learnt:
a)Sheep and free-range pigs sharing the same space and grazing area.
b)Animals (livestock) that live together back home we separate them according to
their type and this takes up a lot of space and is limiting aswe sometimes have to
choose which ones to herd.
c)Weed or other greens aresomething that we always remove from the garden, we
were not aware that it can be useful in farming e.g. ugquzu and umsobo.
d)The importance of making use of the landthat is already available to you. We
always assume that one needs many hectares of land topractice farming but today
we learnt that this is not the case.
e)We learnt about mix breeding of cattle.
f)We were exposed to different breeds of chickens.
g)The food that we eat has a long term effect on our health. We need to engage more
in organic ways of farming and not rush to making profit as this has a longterm
impact on us and our customers.
h)The milking process needs not be brutal.
i)The importance of the farmer-animal-plant relationship.
j)We were not aware that animals alsoneed their own “maternity ward”where they
can be taken care of and fully recover from the birthing process.
k)Livestock need to be taken care of and most importantly, they need to be loved.
l)Cooking ingredients mostly come from the farm which means lessmoney spent on
buying food.
m)This process showed us that there is more to learnt from agriculture
n)Usingthe available land to make profit e.g. this farm is less than 10 ha but there is
everything (plantations, grazing area, kraals, restaurant)
o)There is money in farming.
ii.What is already being practiced in their gardens
a)Inter-cropping, cover-cropping we are happy with the cover crop process that has
been recently introduced to us and only seeing the benefit after practicing. At first
we thought it was too much work.
b)Use of cow and other animal manure in the garden
c)Grazing area rotation
iii.Questions for the Farmer owner
a)Why is the donkey given special treatment compared to other animals on the farm
b)The rabbit breeding period is too short is that it normal?
Meeting Report
Association For Rural Advancement
c)Monkeys are a challenge for us asthey eat allthe plantations how do you deal
with them?
5.Marketing strategies:
Richard Haigh (owner of the farm) took us through some of the marketing strategies that he uses
on his farm, some of which farmers can draw from;
Processing of produce to increase longevity most small scale farmers had challenges with
selling their produce not knowing that if you also process your own food, it will have a
longer shelf-life.
Creating orhaving a logo when packaging your food isimportant as it sets you apart from
other producers, eliminates the middle man and creates an identity.
Do your own marketing market/open days
Add value by bottling your produce
Produce a variety of things.
6.Way Forward:
Participants were taken by the processing of their own food they shared that they would
like to know more about the subject
To take all the learnings from the process and implement them in their gardens
Markets seem to be a challenge for small scale farmers (SSF) they would like to explore
more strategies to share.
Proposal to visit the farm again or visit another farm to capture practical examples of what
they can do to improve as SSF.
In closing, Richard expressed what Enaleni means to him; it is the relationship between animals,
plants, the people and the soil. There is a need to keep a balance of all these as they complement
each other.
Ayanda Madlala
18 February 2021