The Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Ald. Memory recently delegated two officials to engage with the Farming-with-Pride Small farmers in Calitzdorp, Kannaland, to investigate the possibility of assistance from the District. After discussions and meetings with the participants, interventions were initiated, and a surprise visit from Mayor Booysen took place. The purpose of the visit was for the Mayor and his delegation to view the farm’s operations and progress.
The visit occurred after GRDM approved their application for R15 000 Grand-in-Aid funding on 22 April 2021. GRDM made the funding available for the project to boost and expand the business activities of the farm.
Last year the project owner, Christolino Perel, applied for grand-in-aid funding to GRDM after Mayor Booysen saw the potential for the project to be expanded. He explained: “The project started from nothing to a coffee shop named Lino’s PTY, to a small tomato farm that still needed infrastructure to store and process tomatoes into various products to be market-ready. The project is now fully registered with the intervention of GRDM and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). A training session was scheduled on 09 March 2021 with the Farming-with-Pride team. The session’s objectives were to outline the cooperative registration and draft their constitution.
During his address, Richard Dyantyi, GRDM Manager for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), said: “It may seem as we took a long time to come up with a solution, but time is sometimes needed to see significant results.” He explained that some of the grant-in-aid funds were also used to clean the site after earmarking the project. GRDM also went as far as to appoint six (6) of the workers from 1 April to the end of June 2021 as part of its EPWP programme under the principle of supporting Small Macro Enterprises (SMEs).
Mayor Booysen, during the latter part of the programme, handed two certificates over to Perel – SEDA issued the 1st Certificate to declare the project legally registered. The second document is the Certificate of Acceptability issued by the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners. Together with this, Mayor Booysen donated Personal Protective Equipment (clothing) to the team members. When handing over the items, Mayor Booysen commended the team for starting the project from nothing. He said: “As far as possible, we have to do what we are supposed to and at the same time address unemployment and drug abuse issues in the area. Your location and your distance from the major towns is also one of those challenges.”
In concluding the visit, Mayor Booysen encouraged commercial farmers to support the project as it would benefit the lives of the communities of Calitzdorp.