Bushmen grow own veggies

Pumpkins on the floor and maize aloft. San culture and tradition make it hard to settle in permanent abodes, but the residents of Xurube and Perspeka proved they are more than able to grow their own sustenance.

Pumpkins on the floor and maize aloft. San culture and tradition make it hard to settle in permanent abodes, but the residents of Xurube and Perspeka proved they are more than able to grow their own sustenance.

Local community members from Xurube and Perspeka villages in the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy have managed during difficult conditions to reap a good harvest from their EU- funded gardens.
The Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna Conservancies have had a successful season in their local village gardens where pumpkins and melons have flourished. The Xurube villagers have managed to produce sufficient food for their own community and some excess to sell to other local villages. During the recent dry seasons this is no mean feat and shows that projects can and do work, if managed well and if they have sufficient community involvement and support.
The EU-funded climate change adaptation project are supporting the San communities in these conservancies to diversify their livelihoods and improve food security through gardens, fields and livestock management to complement their traditional lifestyles. The late rains have also meant that fields that were ripped instead of ploughed for the first time, have produced some late successes with cowpeas already harvested and maize being harvested now.
The hand-watered gardens have also flourished with pumpkins, melons and sweet potatoes doing particularly well. The project villages are currently planting winter seeds to ensure sustenance during the difficult winter months. The villagers have always lived off the land, but relying on veld food and sporadic drought relief is no longer enough.
Lara Diez of NNDFN said,“The EU funds have enabled us to provide up-to-date farming knowledge and techniques, the community members are now able to start sustainable crop cultivation. This enables the community to be able to feed themselves as well as possibly sell some surplus so they can make some money.”
This first 18 months of the EU-funded Climate Change project has already shown the benefits that gardens can bring and this will be expanded and developed during the remaining 18 months to improve the self-sufficiency and climate change resilience of these communities.

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