Proudly South African helps small-scale farmers become sustainable

To promote a culture of sustainable production and procurement choices in South Africa, Proudly South African, with the support of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) through Switch Africa Green, has launched ‘Awareness Creation and Capacity Building on Ecolabelling in the Agricultural Sector’.

Proudly South African helps small-scale farmers become sustainable
Celia Marques (UNOPS) with Vusi Sithole (Proudly South African) at the Switch Africa Green Networking Forum in June 2017.
Photo: Supplied

Initially, research was conducted among 392 farmers from six provinces. It was determined that the level of awareness of sustainable production practices and ecolabelling was very low at 11,7%, while 61,4% of small-scale farmers did not have any form of certification.

These findings informed the next phase of the project – the development of the Proudly South African standards. The standards address operations across the entire value chain using a series of mandatory and recommended indicators.

Notably, the Proudly South African standards comprise comprehensive content that aims to help small-scale farmers transition to sustainable agricultural practices.

In due course, 15 individuals will be recruited to coach farmers on the Proudly South African standards and sustainable agricultural production practices, and will undergo intensive training to equip them for this task.

Training on the Proudly South African verification process will also be provided to verification experts, who will be tasked with assessing farms against the Proudly South African standards.

The standards will be piloted at nine farms across KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Western Cape.

The farmers will be coached by the trained experts regarding sustainable farming practices and the Proudly South African standards, after which the farms will be assessed to determine their compliance with the standards.

If the farms comply, they will be licensed to display the Proudly South African logo on their products.

Another aim of the project is to create awareness among government, business and consumers about the Proudly South African sustainability standards, eco-labelling, sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and the products certified through the pilot project.

This will be achieved through a variety of activities, which include the media, forums and engagement with the public and private sector.

The success of the pilot project will determine the longevity of Proudly South African’s work in this field.

Assuming the aims of the project are met and subject to funding, it’s anticipated that the work undertaken within the project will continue so that capacity and awareness of SCP in agriculture will continue to grow, particularly among small-scale farmers.

Deadline for public comment on the standards is Friday, 14 July at 12h00.

Email: [email protected] or visit www.proudlysa.co.za.