2010 Winner
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre
Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre
South Africa

This program won a Gold award.


Throughout the country, there are the problems of poverty, unemployment, and food scarcity. Although farming is a viable option to address many of these issues, most people do not have access to much land, and this makes farming a difficult venture. Thus, in 1982, Abalimi Bezekhaya launched a subsistence micro-farming movement. The aim was to use available land, and teach unemployed people to farm it on a micro-scale, to use for subsistence. The project was a success and, from 2005, the aim was to strengthen the Development Chain with the Harvest of Hope initiative (launched in 2008). The aim is to establish a micro-farming cooperative, with training, packing shed, and access to a market. Each cooperative is due to have between 1500 and 3000 micro-farmers, where each will be able to be established at Subsistence level; and about 50 – 100 will be enabled to move to Livelihood Level (ie. Able to sell produce and earn an income). The project is intended to run until 2012. "Innovation: The project enables people to develop micro-farms, which can be used for subsistence or livelihood-generation.




Effectiveness: ABALIMI has a list of 1500 signed-up micro-farmers; 95 farmers were able to earn R300 000 within one month. Open spaces are turned into community gardens.




Poverty Impact: People can produce subsistence crops on 500m² per farmer. It is hoped that, in the future, each farmer will be able to earn R500/m. Even if farmers are not able to earn an income from the project, they can produce enough food for subsistence, which also helps to relieve their daily burden.




Sustainability: ABALIMI has been running since 1982, and has partnerships with a large number of groups and companies (listed below). A number of government departments have also become involved. It therefore seems likely that the project will be able to continue into the future. Also, the farmers who develop micro-farms are able to either subsist, or produce an income.




Replication: As can be seen by the large number of micro-farmers signed up to the organization, it seems that it is relatively easy for new farmers to start their own gardens for subsistence, and even potentially for generating an income. Running the governance aspect of the project would be more difficult, and would require substantial funding and partnerships. Thus, it can probably only be replicated by larger groups.