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Monday, 18 November 2019

Boost for emerging farmers

WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment Researcher, Dr Bongani Ncube, led the way in productive use of water by the emerging farmers. WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment Researcher, Dr Bongani Ncube, led the way in productive use of water by the emerging farmers.

Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying and Centre for Water and Sanitation Researcher, Dr Bongani Ncube, is beaming with confidence after she played a leading role in the successful launch of a website that will support ‘smallholder’ farmers with water resource management.

The website was developed from a research project which is titled, Approaches for Emerging Farmer Participation in Water Resource Management: The Case of the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA), Western Cape. As a project leader, Ncube collaborated with BGCMA and the University of the Western Cape to develop and implement joint research and capacity building programmes based on the BGCMA research and training needs for emerging farmers. The launch was held in Worcester recently.

The main objectives were to assess the progress in accessing water by small-scale and emerging farmers, challenges faced by the farmers in participating in water resource management and to explore the opportunities for engaging the farmers in water allocation processes.

According to Ncube, the Water Research Commission funded the project and translation of the package from English into Afrikaans and IsiXhosa. The website is freely accessible and it can also be accessed via mobile phones. The package is also downloadable in the three languages. “For the farmers who do not have smartphones the package has been printed into hard copies for free distribution via the participating institutions,” she said.

Other participating institutions include the Department of Water and Sanitation, Berg-Olifants Proto CMA, Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and African Farmers Association of South Africa. Meanwhile, CPUT played the coordinator and facilitator roles.

BGCMA Chief Executive Officer, Jan van Staden, said the website will play a huge role in assisting the emerging farmers to access the agricultural information which was not easy to find before. “The website will enable the emerging farmers especially from the previously disadvantaged communities to know where to go for support. With a click in a button they will know who to contact or where to go for any particular information.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce

Email: boyceap@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and the Built Environment and Applied Sciences Faculties.