UJ students elevate fresh produce market in Soweto

Date: Sep 5, 2014 | News


Tomorrow’s business leaders are not only bright university students, but also passionate about entrepreneurship and helping others.

A group of Enactus student volunteers of the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Department of Business Managementepitomised those leadership and caring qualities. They have set themselves the task of raising the profile of unemployed individuals in disadvantaged communities to winning heights by challenging the status quo and the monopoly in the entrepreneurial sectors by opening the door of opportunity through a multi-stakeholder engagement project that aims to create opportunities for urban agriculture in a sustainable food system in Soweto.

The Imvelo Market in Naledi, Soweto, a community forum project with the aim to eradicate poverty by encouraging Soweto residents to grow their own organic produce in order to become self-sustainable in such a way that they will be able to serve and boost prosperity in their community.

​The Imvelo Market in Naledi, Soweto, a community forum project with the aim to eradicate poverty by encouraging Soweto residents to grow their own organic produce in order to become self-sustainable in such a way that they will be able to serve and boost prosperity in their community.

​​​​​Says Bontle Diale, a student involved in the Imvelo Market project: “It was imperative to promote the launch of the market. We wanted to create awareness around urban farming and educate consumers of the benefits it holds – the creation of employment, the eradication of poverty and the building of a positive and sustainable environment within the Soweto community. The hands-on experience helped build teamwork and communications skills while our outreach efforts assist with the bettering of the community. To be involved this project was an enriching experience for UJ’s team” ​​​​

Mr Muzikayise Kheswa, an urban farmer and salesperson from Emdeni Skills Development, an organisation thatempowers individuals by transferring skills and knowledge in order for them to grow their own organic produce, said that most people in townships do not understand the importance of agriculture and that it offers so many opportunities. “Agriculture helps sustain food security since food insecurity is one of the major issues especially in densely populated areas. People go to bed every hungry. We can lessen the number of hungry people by encouraging them to start their own gardens. Not only does it provide food but it can also be turned into a sustainable business venture,” said Mr Kheswa.​

​​​​Region D Farmers’ Forum members, Mr Nyaniso Mashabane and Mr Sakhile Skhosana echoed Mr Kheswa’s sentiments adding that Region D Farmers Forum, not only focused on the farmers skill to grow food but also on social rehabilitation of the community. “The farmers need to know the value of business and the importance of, and the impact the agriculture industry has on the South African economy. Residents will no longer have to travel long distances to get fresh produce. Our vision is to stimulate an agricultural culture in region. The project has a strong education aspect. Educating the youth about entrepreneurship and fresh produce production will boost the Soweto economy,” said Mr Skhosana. ​

Enactus is an international non-profit organisation that brings together students, academia and business leaders.​

 

Fresh Produce Market In Soweto Thumb

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