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Mr Cosmas Dumezweni Xaba (50) is a family man with a wife, seven children and one grandchild. He retired from the mines in 2008 and started to farm at Madzikane (KwaZulu-Natal), growing crops and rearing livestock. He strongly believes in doing things for the well-being of his family. He is a pastor at a local church and is also quite influential in local agricultural community development programmes.

Xaba owns ten cattle and 53 sheep and uses 3 ha to grow most of his food, which include spinach, potatoes, beans as well as maize. He sells excess produce locally and provides temporary employment to support the efforts of his family members.

He is supported in these efforts by a number of stakeholders including the Department of Agriculture, KWANALU and Lima RDF, an NGO that supports smallholder farmers with advice, and through a revolving loan fund, which supports his maize, broiler and potato production efforts.

His work with Kwanalu led to his co-operative being awarded a 1-row animal-drawn knapic planter through the DRDLR LandCare programme. His crop production and selling enterprises has allowed him to buy a bakkie that he now uses to deliver orders around the area. In the 2015/2016 season, for example, he had a turnover of R8 050 from his potatoes.

The need for financial capital for Xaba’s enterprises is significant, which led him to join a village level savings group initiated by Mahlathini Development Foundation and Strategic Action (a micro finance collaboration). The group was established in March last year and will be used as a financial institution for his enterprises. He recently took a loan from the group in an attempt to source a maize thresher that will help him to reduce hours of work shelling maize manually.

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