Macadamia Nut Farming Project Restores Family Dignity
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Macadamia Nut Farming Project Restores Family Dignity

Macadamia Nut Farming Project Restores Family Dignity

Community shareholding scheme turns life around for Amajingqi village

ZOUILE MENZELWYA

POLITICAL REPORTER

Vanxuse Nkololwane

Had it not been for the Amajingqi Macadamia Farming (AMF) project. 57-year-old Vanxuse Nkololwane would still be living in poverty.

AMF is a community-based macadamia farming project initiated in 2013 through the facilitation of Chief Ngwenyathi Dunalisile.

The chief was approached by the macadamia industry players involved at Ncera Macadamia, who at the time were exploring possibilities of expanding their initiative into the Wild Coast.

Nkololwane said he had lost his job in Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape.

“Life was really bad when I lost my job as I could not provide for my family.

“Being a man and not[being] able to provide also creates fights in the home as everyone is looking at you to make a plan,” he said.

The Amajingqi community was invited to the launch of the Ncera Macadamia project for sightseeing.

This visit brought to reality how certain aspects of the Ama- jingqi’s long-term rural industrialisation could be realised.

AMF ownership is based on a 51% community shareholding and 49% private sector.

Of the 146 employees at the AMF, 60 are between 18 and 35 years, 45 between 36 and 45 years, 31 from 46 and 55 years and 10 between 56 and 65 years. The AMF project got started in July 2015, with Nkololwane as one of its first employees after 16 years of unemployment.

Nkololwane is now a fencing manager and says his life has changed for the better.

“My son is now doing law at the University of Johannesburg,” he said.

Nkolotwane has also taken to keeping livestock, including 14 pigs and 48 goats, which he seils or slaughters for his family.

“This project has changed the lives of a number of people.

“People own cars and livestock and when we get paid we fill the town to ensure we buy wonderful things for our families,” he said.

An overview of the AMF project states: “Community leaders have been empowered on governance and leadership and the community has an organised and well regulated community trust with a duly registered trust deed which specifies how the distribution of benefits will be handled.”

The document states that significant number of you people who had left to find employment elsewhere are turning home to find work on the plantations.