The City of Cape Town and the Philippi Economic Development Forum have signed a Memorandum of Agreement that sets out targets for the next 12 months in relation to PEDI’s work in urban agriculture. 

The  MOA follows on from Council approving funding support of R 2,6 million for the current financial year, and will see 22 emerging farmers trained in organic farming methods this year.

Pedi’s Philippi Urban Agriculture Academy (PUAA) trains emerging farmers to become fresh produce suppliers. The initiative has entered phase two, with the establishment of an ‘Agri-Hub’ for urban and small-scale farmers. At present the hub serves a network of just under 50 urban farmers who are drawn from the areas of Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Philippi, Mfuleni and the Bo-Kaap.

‘The training academy was launched two years ago with the first phase aimed at establishing the methodologies for producing organic crops in tunnels and open fields. The academy also established a seedling growing tunnel which can grow as much as 130 000 organic seedlings at any one time. This facility is one of only a few organic seedling producers in the Cape Metropole and certainly the only in the Philippi area,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos.

The methodologies trialed at the PUAA will be shared with this network of urban farmers to bring their farms and crops to a standard that can be traded at the highest price in local, national and even international markets.

‘All this helps to bring urban and small-scale farmers to the forefront of trading their crops in a market dominated by large-scale commercial farmers. Never before was there a facility that is able to bring urban and small-scale farmers to a central space to trade, and where value-added processes can change the price points of their crops. This, in turn, will be a catalyst for economic growth and development in the area,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management, Alderman Grant Twigg.

 The farmers will be assisted to achieve Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) status on their farms which will assist them to demonstrate assurance of the quality of their produce.

The academy also plans to take in a graduate intern for a year to hone their academic skills at the academy. Additionally, three employment opportunities will be created for unemployed matriculants from the Philippi area and surrounds for those who intend to pursue studies in agriculture.

‘The value of urban agriculture cannot be overstated and can be seen as an important sector in the local economy that helps to ensure food security, stimulate economic growth, and address unemployment,’ said Alderman Vos.

 The academy currently operates at the Philippi Fresh Produce Market on Stock Road, Philippi, where 13 local residents are employed under the supervision of farm manager, Ms Zodidi Meke. Two years ago, Zodidi herself was an unemployed graduate. She has excelled at the academy, and has already been acknowledged with a farmer’s award by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture at their ‘Women in Agriculture’ awards ceremony last year. The academy also employs a soil scientist to assist with norms and standards on the farm.

 ‘We have to constantly look at ways to help unlock economic opportunities and strengthen community partnerships. Unemployment remains a huge concern for all of us and we need to do all we can to help create jobs. Our partnership with PEDI holds immense benefits for residents who can train to become food producers. Such partnerships enable us to fulfil our mandate and create an opportunity city that benefits all its residents,’ said Alderman Twigg.

Alderman James Vos and Alderman Grant Twigg went on a site tour of PEDI to inspect the facilities and progress being made in urban agriculture.

The full press release from the City of Cape Town can be read here.

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