Updated: Sep 21
The Philippi Economic Development Initiative (PEDI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dhladhla Foundation to develop a Tunnel Farming operation in the heart of Philippi that will not only provide jobs for local residents, but will also eventually be the location of a training academy for emerging farmers.
PEDI and the Dhladhla Foundation, together with a third partner, Waste to Food, who will be the supplier of fertilizer and seedlings, have already set up 11 tunnels on land adjacent to the Philippi Fresh Produce Market, and the MOU now sets the scene for the farm to become operational, eventually creating jobs for unemployed people in the Central Suburbs who are registered on the joint Subcouncil 13 and Community Work Programme database. The CWP database collates the information of work seekers who are eligible for CWP project work. The CWP provides funding for “useful jobs” that serve a community-building function by improving the area and quality of life of those in it.
The Dhladhla Foundation – a Public Benefit Organisation which has a core purpose to eradicate chronic hunger and poverty – is the implementing agency for the government’s CWP and has an established track record in agricultural, agro-ecological and sustainable socio-economic development. Already the CWP database, which is administered by the Foundation in conjunction with Subcouncil 13, has seen candidates for employment opportunities getting work to clear the land in preparation for the tunnels, as well as building the tunnels themselves.
The agreement, which was signed this month, is the outcome of a long process of discussion and assessment of the possibilities for the project.
PEDI CEO Thomas Swana has expressed his delight at formalising the relationship with the Dhladhla Foundation, and at working with the Western Cape Regional representative, Naym Daniels, who has the full support of the Foundation’s senior management in this project.
‘We have a mandate to identify catalysts that can change the economic future of this area. One key sector here is agriculture. This joint venture is one that we hope will create an opportunity to develop emerging farmers with the kind of training that will allow them to become sustainably employed in the PHA itself. We believe that a venture such as this one will also bring new opportunities to bring Philippi back into the mainstream economy of the City of Cape Town. We believe passionately in the future of Philippi and partnerships with enabling organisations such as the Dhladhla Foundation can make the difference we need to make our vision a reality.’
The project will use the expertise of established Tunnel Farming practitioners and will see partnerships with other urban farmer training organisations to build capacity.
‘We’re still in the planning phase for the project,’ said Swana, ‘But we anticipate being able to generate valuable skills and desperately needed jobs.’