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Alex woman dreams of township food security

Written by Ramatamo Sehoai

Motivated by the extreme poverty and hunger she sees around her every day in the Alexandra areas, 24-year-old Phindile Mlotshwa has dreamed up a solution.

She wants to fight hunger in her over-populated township through ‘vertical farming” – the solution that will enable residents to grow the food they need in the tiny blocks of available spaces they have.

Mlotshwa believes that by growing crops vertically contrary to the usual horizontal manner will offer a massive solution through her initiative, the Lokshin Green Urban Farming Project. 

Phindile Mlotshwa dreams of ending hunger in Alexandra township.

To achieve her mission Mlotshwa has embarked on a recruitment drive to lure young people and emerging creative farmers to buy into her idea, as she believes it offers business potential. 

“Participants will be assisted to establish and maintain vertical farms. They will then be able to sell their crops to retail and local businesses for profit, generating an income,” said Mlotshwa who is also a psychology student and opera singer.

Population growth

She explained the reasoning behind her idea further: “As the population grows, land suitable for farming is depleted. So it is important that we find innovative ways to ensure that we have food for generations to come and that we can create wealth for ourselves and our communities.”

Robyn Hills from Food and Trees for Africa agreed with her: “Urban agriculture is a way we can make an income, share produce, feed ourselves and de-stress! Growing veggies naturally allows us to improve our health while learning clever ways to produce a diversity of crops, herbs and plants for sale.”

During the signing agreement between the City of Johannesburg and United Way South Africa (UWSA), which will assist emerging farmers across all regions to graduate from subsistence to semi-commercial farming.

Dr Mpho Phalatse, MMC of Health and Social Development in Joburg, said: “Food security and sustainable businesses are key elements in our drive to empower emerging farmers. We hope that this partnership will further improve the lives of our people.” – Health-e News.

About the author

Ramatamo Sehoai

Ramatamo Sehoai is an award-winning community journalist from Alexandra Township who curved his health journalism at FrayIntermedia and Mail & Guardian. He has written for numerous publications as a freelancer and won fellowships. Ramatamo is one of our Gauteng based citizen journalists and hosts a weekly talk show at Alex FM. He is also studying towards a BA Honours in Journalism and Media studies at Wits University.