When asked about what is the most important ingredient required to run a farm successfully, Philippine and Paul Pila, do not hesitate to point out that being prepared to work hard is a good start. Therefore, getting down on all fours and doing the hard work is no challenge to them. Their goal is to help their community to become self-sufficient.
Philippine is an inspector of schools during the week. Over weekends she and her husband Paul join various communities, helping them to start their own vegetable gardens. Staying in Soshanguve but supporting a wide network of families and households stretching from Wintersveld to Hammanskraal to Rapotokwane (Rust de Winter) is to them no effort. They have founded Bakgoni Agricultural Projects as an initiative to list and track the progress being made among these communities.
Their ability to locate sizable smallholder yards with quality natural resources within urban and peri urban settlements and to equip and transform these units into sustainable and viable farms is exceptional. These gardens or farms then offer a variety of off taking opportunities to local communities and this approach is in alignment with AgricultSURE’s small holder farmer development program and the starter pack initiative which can transform such a unit from a mere house garden setup into a functional crop production facility, in a matter of a day or two. South Africa sits on a major concealed opportunity in particular in the former homeland areas where family members are working away from home during the week earning substantial income in the mining and other sectors, while they can exponentially increase their revenue by capacitating their spouses and family at home to manage lucrative precision farming units.
Philippine and Paul managed to drill a borehole and then rolled out a Small Farmer Irrigation starter pack (which consists of a tank, tank stand, complete drip irrigation kit and rechargeable electric crop sprayer) literally in the course of a single day. They also planted a vegetable crop starter pack containing a variety of seed, fertilizer and integrated pest management (IPM) products which helped them to get the first crop going while they have fitted a shade net structure to protect the crop.
As they set the example and promote the importance of growing your own crops, they encourage households and communities to become self-sustainable. Bakgoni Agricultural projects are well respected and renowned for initiating farming, gardening and community development related initiatives especially for children, but also for people of all ages and AgricultSURE is proud to be associated with them.
AgricultSURE offers customised solutions to support smallholder, community and household farmers and gardeners. This includes products such as home garden and small holder farmer starter packs with all essential crop input which include instructions, seed, fertiliser, irrigation systems with the option to also include important application equipment such as battery operated/solar rechargeable crop sprayers, complete irrigation kits and other utensils.