This project is underway in the Mphola Village region of northern KZN, an area severely affected by climate change, soil erosion, overgrazing and widespread food insecurity. It is a long-term project with many facets that is building a foundation for a large-scale bio-diesel plant that once complete will provide biofuel for the entire village. Biofuel production, however, cannot provide food self-sufficiency and so rainwater harvesting and permaculture food tunnels have been incorporated into the project.
The project, thus far, has repaired the Mphola community’s broken boreholes and provided water tanks for rainwater harvesting, alleviating a critical shortage of water. The rainwater harvesting system will collect approximately 400 000L of water yearly and will provide water for the project. Permaculture and sustainable farming training has been given to community members working within the project as well as local women and the establishment of food tunnels is well underway. The organic vegetables grown are sold as well as donated to various schools and the project also supplies the surrounding communities with seedlings.
The project is planting 20,000 indigenous trees (Papea capensis – Jacket Plum). These will provide oil for the production of biodiesel, as well as animal fodder and fruit for human consumption and for sale to local and international markets through value-added products.
Currently, 40 residents are employed and at least 1,000 community residents will directly benefit in the next two years.