Scope of the two projects
THE project team (from left) Andrew Cochrane (project manager), Justin Domleo (project engineer), Nicolau Lino Jamice (project accountant), Sergio Cossa, Emanuel Malai and Laciao Bango (Outgrower training and liaison officers).
1.The ‘Maragra Smallholder Sugarcane Development Project’ (MSSDP) promotes the development of 1 540 hectares of new smallholder sugarcane development and 460 hectares of food crop development as a partnership between the Illovo and more than 30 farmer associations representing 4 064 registered smallholder farming families.
2.The ‘Maragra Sugarcane Outgrowers Capacity Building Project’ (MSOCBP) promotes the strengthening of existing smallholder farmer associations, 28 medium scale farmers and their employees. The project will also include and benefit new outgrowers and associations established during the implementation period outside of the MSSDP.
As at the beginning of March, the EU project was at its full staff complement, with Andrew Cochrane (project manager), Justin Domleo (project engineer), Nicolau Lino Jamice (project accountant), Sergio Cossa, Emanuel Malai and Laciao Bango (Outgrower training and liaison officers).
The first phase of this project has been the community mobilisation and civic education program. The social team met with communities, local officials and stakeholders in order to gain understanding as well as to discuss and explain the project.
This phase culminated in a land summit held at Maragra in November 2014 and attended by local officials, stakeholders and farmer representatives. Farmers shared in song their hopes and aspirations as well as what they had learned and developed through the civic education and mobilisation phase. Delegates discussed the complexities of land use and land rights complicated through years of displacement of the civil war and more recently in the 2000 floods.
The outputs of the summit have contributed to the Illovo Group Guidelines on Land and Land Rights, which were formally announced by Illovo’s Development Consultant, Kate Mathias, at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty held in Washington on 23-27 March 2015.
The land audit process of the project started in December 2014. Farmer associations showed their interest in further participation in this phase by signing a letter of intent, which also requested the project team to assist the association in auditing their land. The purpose of the land audit is to understand: which land belongs to which people; where exactly the land is and how big it is; current farming activities on that land; production potential of the land; risk of flooding to the land; and how the land affects people’s livelihoods.
The liaison officers measure individual farmers’ fields within the association and at the same time complete a farmer survey which is used as a baseline for purposes of monitoring and evaluation of project impacts. The outputs of the land audit process are then fed back to the associations in the capacity building phase, in which the principles of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are ensured as part of our development process.
The capacity building and training phase runs in parallel with the land audit process and kicked off in April this year with a Training of Trainers held in Swaziland by RMI Services, the development practitioners contracted to provide the capacity building phase. The project team was equipped with presentation and training skills and also had an opportunity to visit Swaziland’s smallholder farmer projects (LUSIP and KDDP) to meet and interact with association members and extension staff. The liaison officers are currently receiving specific training which they are then putting into practice under the supervision of the training consultant with members of the farmers associations.
The output of this phase will be a business plan developed by the associations themselves which will describe land use planning, governance and institutional arrangements, financing and risk. This business plan will form the basis of a loan agreement which will accompany the EU grant portion for the development of the association’s land.
CAPACITY building phase - Training for transformation with Association 25 de Junho.