Women’s Cooperatives Programme
The programme facilitates the establishment of women’s cooperatives based on cooperative principles and values. It builds the capacity of women seasonal and unemployed workers through broad skills development, mentoring and support. The programme aims to increase farmwomen’s independent income generation and enhance their collectivism. It also aims to challenge the dominant land use model of a large land holding owned by a single (usually male) farmer with the cooperative model which emphasises values of collectivity and equality.
The first cooperative was established in 2006 and comprises 16 unemployed and seasonal farmwomen from the Stellenbosch area. Five hectares of land was secured and, after receiving technical agricultural and business training, the women started vegetable production in September 2007 and will start producing and marketing gourmet mushrooms in November. The second cooperative draws women from the Rawsonville area and consists of 32 members. Land is currently being sourced, and they will also start gourmet mushroom and vegetable production as soon as they acquire land.