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Feedback from the AVACLIM national workshop in South Africa
banniere de l'article retour sur les ateliers en afrique du sud dans la cadre du projet avaclim

Feedback from the AVACLIM national workshop in South Africa

From 27 to 29 November, 20 participants gathered at the Goedgedacht Conference Centre west of Cape Town for the national workshop in South Africa, organised and run by the project partner Avaclim Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG).  

The aim of this event, which takes place in all the project’s partner countries, is to bring together members of the agroecology community of practice with a view to sharing knowledge and reflecting on ways of strengthening and maintaining exchanges over the long term, while addressing the state of agricultural and food policies and ways of scaling up agroecology.   

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshop was held remotely for the plenary sessions and face-to-face in the spacious barn of the Goedgedacht estate, thus respecting the rules of social distancing. It brought together representatives of the initiatives identified in South Africa, as well as the partner researcher, Mr. Raymond Auerbach, and members of the implementing partner (EMG).  

After a walk through the olive orchards of the Goedgedacht estate and a presentation of the history of the site, Professor Raymond Auerbach discussed with the participants the indicators for evaluating the socio-economic and environmental benefits of agroecology resulting from the identification of the common needs of the grassroots stakeholders involved. This is a crucial step, as it will enrich the performance evaluation process for the initiatives currently being developed, aimed at proving the effectiveness of agroecology to government stakeholders.  

The participants highlighted certain success criteria for the initiatives presented. For example, the Goedverwacht initiative is run by a collective of 16 farmers (including 12 women) who practise traditional and agroecological farming methods. The community has a collective shop that sells their highly diversified produce, and is also active in agritourism. Their standard of living has improved significantly, with families able to pay for their children’s university fees and contribute to road improvements. That said, the small farmers are still unable to take out loans for long-term projects, as the land belongs to the Moravian church, which also claims part of the income generated by the collective in the form of taxes.  

The high representation of women at the national workshop (50%) reflects their involvement in sustainable development projects in South Africa. The Phakamani Siyephambili initiative highlights their impact in creating a local economy and in training and raising awareness among local residents, small farmers and children about water conservation, soil restoration, seed production and other sustainable farming practices.  

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