Introduction | Purpose | E-Conference Organizers
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Welcome to the E-Conference
Looking Forward to Rio+10: Reporting Progress
on Land and Agriculture
Record of Contributions
Message 34 - Comment by Gerrie Albertse on Message 26 from Bob Ew ing and Message 24 from Ms.
Fri, 16 Mar 2001 15:38:28 +0100
I would like to respond to the comments made by Elize Lundal-Magnuson and
Bob Ewing on poverty alleviation and on technology, with reference to my
experience in South Africa, over several years.
Although we live in a country where we export diamonds, gold, wine, table
grapes etc, there are still thousands of people that do not have enough to
eat or suffer from malnutrition. Although we do have appropriate technology
available and we train people to grow vegetables and fruit using a minimum
amount of water or even recycled water, people can not always even afford to
buy this equipment. There is a constant urge to grow your own food. People
that moved to the large cities are mostly without jobs and in order to
survive, they try to grow vegetables.
In several of the communities where I work - e.g. Riemvasmaak, Namaqualand,
Jacobsdal or Douglas - people were given land, but they still have no
equipment, implements, tractors and capital to work their fields in order to
produce crops. Although they now have land, they do not have the means to
produce crops. It is also my experience that in these communities, it is
mostly old people that are involved into agriculture; men and women at the
age of 50 to 70 years. Young people are not really interested into
agriculture. They are more interested into office jobs and to have a car,
than to work in the sun and pray for rain and hope to harvest a crop.
My humble opinion is therefore:
> Giving land to people is not always the solution to poverty alleviation.
This action must be supported by allocation of development capital,
extension service and training. > We found at Riemvasmaak, that people were
not really interested to farming, but if they had land, they now had the
oppertunity to barter or sell their allocated land to other people.
Obtaining land was therefore only the means, to obtain money, which they did
not previously havd. As Elize said "When people are hungry they only think
about food and how to survive."
Although this was experienced in three communities we have several successes
in certain communities. This can be ascribed to:
> Ownership of land, training, funds to develop and a market for
their products. This success was at Eksteenskuil where the people produced
grapes, a high income crop. Younger farmers are interested into grape
production where they can see a success story.
Hope this can contribute to your project.
Stellenbosch, South Africa