Harry Gwala Agri is a non-profit company made possible through the collective support and financial contributions from four farmer's associations (Ingwe, Highflats-Ixopo, Mount Currie and Zwartberg) who represent the commercial farmers in the district. The initiative is founded on the belief that commercial farmers can no longer live as islands of prosperity amidst a sea of poverty and that action needs to be taken to extend support to those for whom agriculture is an important or potential livelihood option and who have the motivation and will to improve not only their own circumstances, but who, with the right guidance and resources, can make a meaningful contribution to the local economy.
We are a relationship and project-driven initiative that aims to advise, facilitate, skill and fund passionate aspiring and existing developing farmers, whilst adhering to strict standards of corporate governance and accountability. Our focus areas are extending support to agricultural-related education, and acting as an umbrella body for agricultural development projects in the district to offer support, facilitate their growth and establish new projects from the platform they have laid. Engaging with the private sector, government and other non-governmental institutions is also an important focus in order to garner support for this initiative and to publicise the involvement of those who make it possible.
A broad spectrum of projects exist. At the subsistence level, cultivation techniques suitable for small gardens are being taught at the household level and then passed on through farmer-to-farmer extension, and proving successful in bolstering household food security. While mentoring relationships that are forged between aspiring farmers and commercial farmers with the willingness to impart their expertise are the backbone of this initiative and key to upscaling those projects with the potential for becoming commercial enterprises.
We recognise that agricultural-related education is critical to the sectors development and have worked alongside a local college to establish an in-service training programme for students undertaking their national diplomas in farm management. Key to the success of this are the commercial farmers who are willing to offer these training opportunities to the students and impart their knowledge.