About Us

How it all began

In March 2018, small-scale farmers across the Cape Flats had a crisis: hundreds of brinjals were ripening in their fields and they had nowhere to sell them. Without adequate business skills and access to market, vegetables rotted in their fields and the farmers suffered a severe loss of income. In response, Umthunzi Farming Community was established. We are a social business working in the Cape Town food system. We currently work with more than 50 small-scale organic farmers from Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Mitchells Plain, Philippi and Malmesbury.

What We Do

Our Mission

We create empowering economic opportunities for small-scale farmers.

Our Vision

A food system where small-scale farmers are key contributors and provide nourishing food, job creation and support healthy, prosperous communities.

Our Objectives

We support capacity building, sales and logistics for small-scale farmers to distribute #vegwithanimpact across Cape Town.

Our values

Empowerment of small-scale farmers, transparency of business practices, and community for farmers and customers.

How We Work

Small-scale farmers grow

organic vegetables, herbs and eggs

You Order

wholesale or harvest bags

Farmers Harvest

to fulfill your order

We deliver

within 48 hours of harvest

We impact

economic empowerment of farmers

Source #vegwithanimpact

Wholesale

Bulk quantities for restaurants, shops, private chefs and catering companies

Harvest Bag

A mystery bag containing a variety of ready-to-harvest vegetables

Wellness

Discounted harvest bags for businesses or groups to support healthy living and food security

Pantry

Unsold, surplus vegetables transformed by community members

Wholesale

Bulk quantities for restaurants, shops, private chefs and catering companies

Harvest Bag

A mystery bag containing a variety of ready-to-harvest vegetables

Wellness

Discounted harvest bags for businesses or groups to support healthy living and food security

Pantry

Unsold, surplus vegetables transformed by community members

Meet the Team

Emma
Hosking

Co-Founder

Mariam
Mouffak

communications

Kim
Bloch

Co-Founder

Fabian
Johannes

packing day

Baden
Petersen

coordinator

Chad
Wood

packing day

Tankiso
Ntseare

administrator

Volunteers

Thank you to the many volunteers who support us!

Our Impact

1
Small-scale farmers
R 1 M
Farmer income
1 %
Revenue direct to farmers
1 x ⇑
Median farmer income
1 t
Vegetables sold

COVID-19

Strategy

We are experiencing a global pandemic of COVID-19. On 23 March 2020, South Africa announced a nationwide lockdown.

In this unprecedented time, Umthunzi has registered as an Essential Service and has had to adapt quickly within the context of COVID-19 to minimise risks along our supply chain from farmer to consumer.

Strategic Focal Areas

Latest Regulations

Keeping up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 news and guidelines

Data Collection

Conducted a health and safety survey across the farmer network to inform our strategy

Health and Safety

Developed strict occupational health and safety guidelines from farmer to consumer

Fundraising

Launched a fundraising campaign to raise funds for farmer income relief and prevention packs

Adapted operations

  • We are operating with a skeleton team
  • Alternative, safe transport for staff who usually take public transport
  • All farmers have received education and a COVID-19 prevention pack
  • Special precautions have been implemented for farmers who identified as ‘high risk’

Adapted business model

  • We now offer home deliveries for Harvest Bags
  • Wholesale to small-businesses operating during the lockdown
  • Harvest bags in partnership with FoodFlowZA to increase food security in low-income areas during the lockdown

Health and Safety Survey

We conducted a COVID-19 health and safety farmer survey in April 2020 via an online survey tool. The purpose of the survey was to gain insights that would enable us to develop a strong, evidence-based COVID-19 strategy that minimises risks along the supply chain from farmer to consumer.

65 small-scale farmers (average of 56 years) were surveyed. Nearly half (45%) of the farmers were over 60 years old, putting them in an “at risk” age group for COVID-19 complications. The average number of dependents per household was 4 and 26% of dependents were also older than 60 years old. Many farmers are primary breadwinners within their households.

We asked the farmers to report if they or their dependants had any health conditions which might predispose them to complications of the COVID-19 virus; the results were astonishingly high: 46% reported personal existing health condition/s and 32% reported dependant/s with existing health condition/s.

Farmers were assessed on their level of knowledge and awareness about COVID-19.

  • 100% of farmers had heard of COVID-19
  • 42% understood modes of transmission of COVID-19 being through: contact with infected persons, contact with infected surfaces and touching your face after contact with persons and/or surfaces
  • 77% understood that incubation of COVID-19 can be between 2-14 days
  • 49% correctly identified the three most common symptoms of COVID-19: Shortness of breath, fever, coughing
  • On average, farmers correctly identified covering mouth when sneezing or coughing, staying at home, washing hands, using gloves, and using face masks as primary prevention methods

Taking into account the age and health conditions of the farmer and their household dependants, as well as whether the farmer reported being a smoker (12%), we generated risk levels across the household. 75% of farmers were either at high risk themselves and/or had dependants at high risk. More than one-third (36%) perceived themselves as being ‘medium risk’ or ‘high risk’, while 26% scored themselves as ‘low risk’ and 28% said they were unsure.

 

Despite actual and perceived risks across the farmer network, 97% of farmers want to continue farming during lockdown. More than half (54%) of farmers cited income as the primary reason they wanted to continue farming during the lockdown period. Other key reasons included wanting to support their communities’ food security (26%), to feed their own families (26%), to support healthy living (22%) and to prevent loss of crops (17%).

On average, farmers reported having access to two markets where they could sell their vegetables, of which 70% are members of the Umthunzi Farming Network. The median monthly farmer income according to Umthunzi’s March sales is R1728, which is an approximate 3.5-fold increase in median income since Umthunzi began in March 2018. The majority of farmers (83%) reported that they felt safe getting to and from their farms. Average travel time was 10 minutes to farms as well as collection points

Farmers have very few alternative income options to rely on, with the majority (57%) being dependent on social grants, approximately 10% citing other sources and 17% citing no alternatives to farming.

These data indicate that the majority of small-scale farmers and their families are at high-risk of COVID-19 disease due to age, pre-existing health conditions and smoking status. However, given the inherently challenging life circumstances of low-income farmers living in the townships and in-depth discussions with the farmers about their needs and desires, we feel that safe access to market and reliable income opportunities are more critical now than ever before in preventing the spread and devastation of COVID-19 and its longer-term negative social, economic and health impacts. With these data, we have developed an evidence-based strategy to minimise COVID-19 risks across the supply chain from farmer to consumer.

We conducted a COVID-19 health and safety farmer survey in April 2020 via an online survey tool. The purpose of the survey was to gain insights that would enable us to develop a strong, evidence-based COVID-19 strategy that minimises risks along the supply chain from farmer to consumer.

65 small-scale farmers (average of 56 years) were surveyed. Nearly half (45%) of the farmers were over 60 years old, putting them in an “at risk” age group for COVID-19 complications. The average number of dependents per household was 4 and 26% of dependents were also older than 60 years old. Many farmers are primary breadwinners within their households.

We asked the farmers to report if they or their dependants had any health conditions which might predispose them to complications of the COVID-19 virus; the results were astonishingly high: 46% reported personal existing health condition/s and 32% reported dependant/s with existing health condition/s.

Farmers were assessed on their level of knowledge and awareness about COVID-19.

  • 100% of farmers had heard of COVID-19
  • 42% understood modes of transmission of COVID-19 being through: contact with infected persons, contact with infected surfaces and touching your face after contact with persons and/or surfaces
  • 77% understood that incubation of COVID-19 can be between 2-14 days
  • 49% correctly identified the three most common symptoms of COVID-19: Shortness of breath, fever, coughing
  • On average, farmers correctly identified covering mouth when sneezing or coughing, staying at home, washing hands, using gloves, and using face masks as primary prevention methods

Taking into account the age and health conditions of the farmer and their household dependants, as well as whether the farmer reported being a smoker (12%), we generated risk levels across the household. 75% of farmers were either at high risk themselves and/or had dependants at high risk. More than one-third (36%) perceived themselves as being ‘medium risk’ or ‘high risk’, while 26% scored themselves as ‘low risk’ and 28% said they were unsure.

 

Despite actual and perceived risks across the farmer network, 97% of farmers want to continue farming during lockdown. More than half (54%) of farmers cited income as the primary reason they wanted to continue farming during the lockdown period. Other key reasons included wanting to support their communities’ food security (26%), to feed their own families (26%), to support healthy living (22%) and to prevent loss of crops (17%).

On average, farmers reported having access to two markets where they could sell their vegetables, of which 70% are members of the Umthunzi Farming Network. The median monthly farmer income according to Umthunzi’s March sales is R1728, which is an approximate 3.5-fold increase in median income since Umthunzi began in March 2018. The majority of farmers (83%) reported that they felt safe getting to and from their farms. Average travel time was 10 minutes to farms as well as collection points

Farmers have very few alternative income options to rely on, with the majority (57%) being dependent on social grants, approximately 10% citing other sources and 17% citing no alternatives to farming.

These data indicate that the majority of small-scale farmers and their families are at high-risk of COVID-19 disease due to age, pre-existing health conditions and smoking status. However, given the inherently challenging life circumstances of low-income farmers living in the townships and in-depth discussions with the farmers about their needs and desires, we feel that safe access to market and reliable income opportunities are more critical now than ever before in preventing the spread and devastation of COVID-19 and its longer-term negative social, economic and health impacts. With these data, we have developed an evidence-based strategy to minimise COVID-19 risks across the supply chain from farmer to consumer.

Fundraising Campaign

Farmer income relief

Many farmers are the primary earners in their families. During lockdown, we will not be operating at full capacity. This puts a vulnerable community at higher risk of COVID-19 infection and disease.

COVID-19 prevention packs

To ensure the safety of the farmer network, the Umthunzi team and our customers, we have prioritised educating the farmer network about COVID-19 and distributing prevention packs consisting of masks, soap and hand sanitiser.

Donate Now!​

R0

Donate Now!​

Total Funds Raised
R 148,079 100%

R140K

R 0 K/R117K
Farmer Income

R432.00 per farmer/week

0 /400
Masks

GoodclothingSA
masks: R180.00 for 2

0 /200
Soap

R40.00 per soap

0 /200
Hand Sanitiser

R40.00 per hand sanitiser

0 /100
Donation Harvest Bags

R195.00 per family

EFT

Bank: FNB
Account name: Umthunzi Farming Community
Branch number: 250655
Account number: 62775176706
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ
Reference: Name + Donation

Contact Us

General Enquiries
Use the contact form or send an email to
Operating Hours
  • Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00
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