Communal Lands and Commonage As an overriding position, we aim to identify obstacles to significant growth and development opportunities
We set and monitor targets
Mngcunube prides itself on rigorous monitoring of planned results and has ground breaking data and information
Monitoring and Reporting
are integral to the design of all Mngcunube work. All our designs and plans include practical..
Project identification and design
By Mngcunube is at two levels. One is through the normal process of needs analysis.
Elundini Livestock Project: June 2009
Communities in some of South Africa’s deep rural areas are among the most needy and people here rely heavily on small-scale and subsistence farming as well as livestock ownership to survive.
Stock-owners, many of them ex-mineworkers invest their savings into livestock. However, stock owners have very limited access to livestock inputs and advisory services from government and the private sector. Limited access to animal health services results in low animal productivity, low birth rates and high mortality rates. Most farmers therefore struggle to build and/or maintain their livestock assets.
Farmers are generally aware of animal health problems and wish to obtain treatment but have great difficulty in accessing animal medicines and services, and developing the skills needed to diagnose illnesses and treat appropriately.
By instituting well managed animal health services through a mentorship approach, it is possible to build up farmer-led sustainable livestock support, thus boosting self-employment and production.
Poorer households without access to land or livestock are assisted through a homestead gardens project, which aims to reach some 400 households in Elundini.
Livestock Project - Context
The livestock component of the project covered livestock owners in Wards 8 – 15 of Elundini Local Municipality in the Ukhahlamba District of the Eastern Cape. This is the second phase of the project which operated in Wards 1-7 until April 2007. Phase 2 officially started in March January 2007 and ran until the end of August 2009. The project was supported by the Ukhahlamba District Municipality, the Thina Sinako fund and the Gold Fields Foundation. The Livestock Project is in full conformity with the Ukhahlamba Growth and Development Strategy and the IDP.
Livestock Progress and Impact
The importance of what has developed as a result of the project over the last year is profound. It has seen the project move from being a great success on the ground with progress in excess of target to one which is viewed as a model for replication by the East Cape Department of Agriculture.
This intention was formed by the then MEC for Agriculture and now national Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti. This means that there is the possibility of it being adopted nationally.
The following outcomes of the project are the reason for the abovementioned positioning by government. Economic Impact: Higher birth rates and lower death rates of livestock saw the average sheep flock size owned by each farmer increase from 15 to 35. This represents a growth in potential income from about R 500 to over R 18 000 per farmer for sheep, excluding wool (sheep valued at R 800). Results improve still further when wool, goats and cattle are included. Scale The project has reached over 3000 farmers across 90 villages and handled over 300 000 sheep and goats and 13 000 cattle in an area over 500 square kilometres in extent. It is therefore something that lends itself to being implemented over an even larger area. Taking the gain of R 18 000 per farmer over 3000 farmers the increase in potential disposable income for the project area is over R 54 million a year. Cost Effectiveness Farmers attained the abovementioned benefits by spending, on average, only R 9 per sheep. The cost of project support is about R2000 per farmer Sustainability The project develops promising local farmers to take over the core business of the project, namely making animal medicines and treatment more readily available at fair prices, as local micro enterprises. These people are called VLPs ( village link persons) and make their income by making a small mark up on large volumes of sales. This system was set up in Phase 1 of the project and the VLPs there have been operating independently for over two years, with great success.
The project reporting, based on a detailed database has been assessed by an independent academic and the findings have been reported to and will be published in reputable academic journals.
The ‘on the ground’ project formally ended on 31 August but close up activities such as the final data base analysis report, roll out activities and final reporting are being carried out.
Alfred Nzo Livestock Project: June 2009
The programme started in January 2008, with financial support from the Gold Fields Foundation and the District Municipality (ANDM). It is scheduled to operate for an initial period of three years. The idea behind livestock improvement is that sheep and goats are very widely held assets of the poor and that, by removing constraints to growth of this asset, participants will have more assets at their disposal. Because so many participants are involved and because the gains are so high the results combine and accumulate to significantly increase LED capacity of the District.
Progress and Impact
There are 2 ½ livestock mentors working with VLPs and local field workers and enumerators. The project approach is essentially the same as at Elundini. The project will serve as an engine room for rolling out good practices from Elundini, especially the use of VLPs. The progress against target report set out below shows that the ANDM project is doing very well, so its preparedness to serve in the roll out process is good.
||Total Targer over three years
||Actual Achieved at June 2009
|1.1 Farmer numbers
||2 459 across 55 villages
|2 Financial Impact
||R10 000 average per farmer
||Appoint 5 VLPs
Alfred Nzo Homestead Gardens: June 2009
The project started in October 2008 for an initial period of 12 months. It is supported by ANDM. By May 2009 the target of 250 households had been reached. The idea of homestead gardens and especially keyhole gardens has proved very popular with demand for the project outstripping its capacity. The results are very similar to those obtained at Elundini, where over 90% of participating households report that they get much more variety and quantity from their gardens.
Mbashe Livestock Project: June 2009
Background to project
The project started in June 2008 with initial financial support coming exclusively from the Gold Fields Foundation. As with all the Eastern Cape projects, Teba Development provides fund management services and Mngcunube is responsible for design, implementation, general and financial management, data and monitoring and reporting. The project design and approach at Mbashe is very similar to that of others operated by Mngcunube in the Eastern Cape. To date however the project is operated by only one livestock mentor, headquartered at ‘The Haven’ and two VLPs and a field worker.
Progress and Impact
Performance has been good. Over 700 of a target of 1000 farmers have been reached covering:
Sheep and goats including kids and lambs: 7 990 SSU
Cattle and calves: 1 719 which represents 9 714 SSU
SSU means small stock unit, where sheep and goats are one unit each and cattle are counted as six. All the projects also treat many horses, pigs, dogs etc that are not counted because the benefits cannot be accurately ascribed, but which are a service that farmers value greatly.
The project does not as yet have an accurate basis for assessing the benefit to farmers of working on cattle. A system to do this was started in August 2009 and will ultimately be as valuable as the large small stock data base that Mngcunube operates. Doing the work on the ground is much more challenging with cattle and the longer breeding and life cycles of cattle make the process a challenge within the normal three year period of project finding.
Naledi Commonage: June 2009
There are developments concerning this commonage project that we hope to report on soon.
Elundini Livestock Programme Phase 3: VLP Support Systems
The Elundini Livestock Improvement Programme, in both Phases I and II, built local capacity to take over core activities, especially supply of basic animal health products and services to farmers. The people selected to do this work were drawn from participating farmers and were called Village Link Persons (VLPs). They went through a defined process of mentorship and development covering both technical and business skills. At the end of Phase II sufficient funds from the Gold Fields Foundation remained to carry out a 12 month process of post project monitoring and support.
The VLPs had received sufficient training for them to operate independently, and the Phase 1 VLPs have being dong so since March 2007. The purpose of the current process rests on the fact that the Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DoARD) decided in May 2009 to adopt good practices from Elundini Livestock Improvement Project as its livestock development strategy (LDS). In essence the LDS consists of the development of VLPs across the province and, in the longer term, the DoARD ensuring that their skills are maintained and that new VLPs are developed as and when needed. To this end the project (Teba and Mngcunube) have worked with DoARD to develop an Operating Arrangement that needs to be implemented. But there has been little experience of how VLPs actually operate without having full time project support for input supplies, and other needs such as referrals for special problems, dealing with the possibility of reduced sales to farmers etc.
The purpose of Phase 3 is therefore to develop insight into their operational systems in the absence of a project base but in the presence of an element of support. (Note that operating independently does not imply operating in total isolation, which would not be a useful perspective)
Within this, the objectives are:
1. To assess the effectiveness of local input supply systems driven and operated by the VLPs
2. To assess how VLPs from Phase I perform compared to those from Phase II who had advantages in terms of more well developed selection and training standards
3. To draw on the above in learning how to ensure that VLP operations are as sustainable and robust as possible
Project Set Up
This project formally started on 1 September but related work was carried out in the last few weeks of Phase II of the main Elundini project. The core of this was two strategy meetings held with all VLPs from Phase 1 and Phase II.
The broader purpose of the continuing interaction with the VLPs was discussed as was the basis for moving ahead. In essence, the following resulted and forms the basis of operations for Phase 3:
• The VLPs want to interact with one another where this is beneficial to do so (see below) but want to remain as independent operators and specifically not to form an organisation.
• VLPs will draw stocks of inputs (animal health products) from a local supply depot in Maclear that will operate for their exclusive use. That is, the depot will not sell direct to farmers or compete with VLPs or Co-ops.
• Mngcunube will receive orders through the depot (a part time depot operator will be in place) and make deliveries to the deport
• Mngcunube will have a Project Manager, Bejile Wana, formerly a mentor with the Elundini Project whose function is to (a) see that the supply system operates effectively and with integrity and (b) provide feedback on how VLPs work out in reality: what makes for success and problems; what sort of internal and external problems there are and generally to support objectives 1 and 3)
• Mngcunube will keep track of sales and will manage data to allow for Objective 2 to be fulfilled
• The system will also serve to ensure that Village Garden Co-ordinators can get supplies of seed and other inputs such as seedlings, frost cover etc
The project has started to implement all of the above.
There are 5 VLPs in each Phase.
||Phase 1 VLPs
||Phase 2 VLPs
|Net sales for month*
|SSU reached for month**
* After cost of medicines is deducted but excluding other costs such as transport
** Note that this is the number of SSU handled/ treated and not the actual number because the same animal will usually come for treatment more than once.
In Elundini Phase II the ratio of Total SSU Handled to Total Actual SSU was 2.54 to 1 so it can be inferred that in Phase 3 to date the VLPs are covering a total of about 25 700 actual SSU ( 9 700 from Phase 1 VLPs and 16000 from Phase 2 VLPs)
As can be seen the Phase 1 VLPs are less productive. They are however dragged down by one or two very weak individuals. For the rest, and especially for Phase II VGLPs, it is exciting to see how well they are doing. Even with Phase ! VLPs the story below shows that the situation is still open to change. “ One of the Phase I VLP’s, on his own initiative and in response to dwindling numbers at of farmers attending his site at Hlankomo village, offered a free dose of Vitamin A to his sheep and goat farmers. The response was that 40 farmers attended and over 2 300 small stock were treated over and above the Vitamin doses.”
Chris Hani District Livestock Improvement Project
The project started on 1 September at small scale and, as with the other livestock projects, is modelled on the approach taken at Elundini. Like Elundini, it is a form of ‘public-private partnership between local government and the mining sector represented by Teba Development.
There are some distinctive features however. Firstly, the project is the test bench for applying the Operating Arrangements that Mngcunube has worked out with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on roll out of good practices from Elundini. Once these have been tested they will be applied at other Mngcunube projects in the province, namely at Mbashe and Alfred Nzo districts. Second, within those arrangements, there are plans to rollout VLPs more efficiently than was done at Elundini with a beneficial result for the Department and farmers. Thirdly, the Elundini impact was expressed in terms of growth in numbers of livestock. Farmers need to sell some of that increase to get cash income and to avoid impact on the environment. To this end the project partnership extends to include AsgiSA –EC that has an existing partnership with the District Municipality relating to livestock marketing and improvement initiatives that it is taking in the Sakhisizwe area. This focus on cattle and synergies with this work and the project outcomes on sheep and goats will be explored.