Current Programmes

Realising Farm Dweller Rights Programme

Funded by Bread for the World and the RAITH Foundation 

The Programme aims to address the on-going marginalisation of farm dwellers, who are largely unable to realise their Constitutional rights to land, services, housing and dignity due to highly unequal power relations on farms and the ineffective implementation of legislation and policies designed to give effect to these rights. The Programme contributes to the realization of the rights of farm dwellers to land, services, housing and dignity. This will be achieved by mobilising farm dwellers to claim their rights to secure land tenure and basic services, strengthening strategic partnerships and coalitions whilst developing flexible and progressive mechanisms that promote the realisation of these rights, ensuring that rights violations are being monitored and responded to effectively, strengthening policy and legislation through evidence-based policy submissions, and continuing strategic litigation to improve jurisprudence and test relevant legislation, policies and their implementation.

Gender Justice Project

Funded by the Commonwealth Foundation

Many farm dwellers in South Africa are faced with income poverty from low wages, diminishing opportunities to work, and inadequate access to services. South Africa has been undergoing a comprehensive land reform programme to redress inequity in land ownership and unlock the economic potential of land. The country’s government is committed to continue to accelerate the pace of land reform.

Farm dwellers, and groups representing them, have been engaging in land reform processes in South Africa, raising awareness of the challenges they face and proposing recommendations to address them. However, the voices of women farm dwellers have been largely absent from these discussions.

This project will bring the voices of women living on farms in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality to current discussions on the land policy and legislative framework in South Africa. This will be achieved by:

  • establishing and strengthening women farm dweller groups and supporting them to develop a common vision to guide women-centred advocacy initiatives
  • building the capacity of women to understand and assess existing and proposed land policies and legislation, including current discussions on the expropriation of land
  • promoting women’s access to and participation in decision making spaces to advocate for their needs; this will include engagement in farm dweller groups, participation in development planning processes led by municipalities, and participation in national land reform processes
  • supporting women to express their needs and priorities using creative expression, including art, theatre, and a documentary to be produced by farm-dwelling women.

Here’s a link to the short films recently produced by members of Qina Mbokodo

Food Systems Project

Funded by the IDRC and WWF Nedbank Green Trust

The food systems project at AFRA is a collaboration with two sets of partners. The first is an IDRC funded programme entitled “The Impacts of Covid-19 Responses on the Political Economy of African Food Systems” in collaboration with the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), the University of Pretoria, Masifundise, and colleagues from University of Ghana and the University of Ardhi in Tanzania. The second is a Green Trust funded programme entitled “Towards Recalibrating Food Systems During and Beyond the COVID-19 Crisis” in collaboration with the South African Food Lab, the Seriti Institute, Gender CC and Food and Trees for Africa.

The project arose in response to food disruptions during the hard lockdown announced in March 2020 in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19. Despite agriculture being exempted from the lockdown provisions, food disruptions were reported almost immediately by NGOs and media with horrendous consequences for rising hunger, particularly of children and other vulnerable groupings. The food flow disruption was the result of multiple factors. These included the closure of schools and school feedings schemes, the loss of jobs as businesses closed and income reductions as workers were furloughed during the lockdown, the disruption to food transporters particularly the informal transporters such as bakkie traders that impacted on small farmers and fishers, and the knock on disruptions to food traders on the streets and tuckshops. Along with these disruptions, supermarkets rapidly became overcrowded and experienced stock shortages as people panicked and stockpiled food supplies. The overall effect was a rapid and quick increase in daily levels of hunger and food price increases that further exacerbated food availability for the poor. AFRA received reports from farm dwellers of increasing inaccessibility of food as a result of food and transport price increases combined with shortened work days and less income. Wages and social grants for people living on farms do not cover the budget deficits many households on farms now experience.

Although the Government responded to Covid-19 with a range of support measures to businesses, farmers and unemployed people, the economic impacts on livelihoods, jobs and hunger have persisted. Analyses of the food system have pointed to the structural underlying inequalities and imbalances, with over-concentrations in supermarkets, large scale farmers and input and output agricultural suppliers. Concerns include the possibility of ongoing pandemics combined with erratic weather patterns induced by human-caused climate change and which fall heavily and disproportionately on Southern Africa. The project thus aims to track and understand the impacts of COVID-19 and Government’s interventions to contain it on food system actors operating mainly in informal or relatively invisible spaces, such as small farmers and agro-processors, farm workers, bakkie traders, street vendors and small shop owners. The purpose of understanding these impacts is to enable local re-calibration of the food system such that nutritious, safe and sufficient food is available locally, particularly to food insecure groups, with local actors and consumers having greater control and autonomy over food flows and in support for the emergence of a solidarity economy.

AFRA is part of the Tshintsha Amakhaya alliance, which entered its third 3-year phase in 2017. Tshintsha Amakhaya is an alliance for land and food justice in South Africa. Rural women and men stand united in solidarity to advance their rights and secure livelihoods.