June 2022.

A majority women-owned co-op in Kenhardt, Northern Cape, is determined to help ensure that food is accessible and affordable for their community. Thanks to a recent completion of a two-day governance and compliance training programme, they are now one step closer to achieving their goal and building an enterprise that is sustainable.

In an effort to focus more on supporting agri-entrepreneurs, Aries Solar Power through their Enterprise Development Programme, has come alongside Kenhardt Primary Agricultural Cooperative to ensure their organisation is set up correctly and is viable for the future.

Officially registered in June last year, the agri Co-Op is owned by 20 community members, focused on herb and crop farming as well as agri-processing. They currently have approximately six hectares of land under production, with crops expected to be ready for harvest in the coming months.

“We are so grateful for the assistance provided to help our business grow. We are now able, as Co-Op members, to operate at our full potential, making it possible to provide more affordable food options to our community,” commented Anna Cloete, Chairperson for Kenhardt Primary Agricultural Cooperative.

After recognising a general lack of agricultural skills and a stigma about farming amongst local youth in the community, the Co-Op members saw an opportunity to combine their skills, knowledge, and farming experience to address the issue of food security and create easier access to food for the locals collectively.

“As revealed by an in-depth feasibility study, this Co-op Board displayed a high level of passion and dedication to succeed. More so, the Board is cohesive and have the ability to work together to leverage off each other’s strengths. It is our hope that with the correct management guidance the Co-Op will become successful,” concluded Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Specialist for Aries Solar Power.