The Siyazisiza Trust received a very generous grant of R 600,000 from the Ackerman Pick ‘n Pay Foundation for the installation and upgrade of irrigation systems in its community gardens across northern Kwazulu-Natal.

Some of the projects that have benefited from this funding include:

Siyathuthuka Community Garden: Comprised of community members of a local HIV/AIDS and cancer support group, this garden is situated on the banks of the Pongola River. A drip-irrigation system is now under trial in this 1-hectare community garden which not only reduces the amount of water required but also offers a low labour solution for people with lower levels of physical capacity due to their respective illnesses.

Vukuzenzele Community Garden: Located just outside of Ulundi, the availability of water to this community garden has been radically reduced. A nearby stream has been reduced to a trickle and the group is struggling to capture enough water to effectively irrigate their garden. Having only

occasional access to a pump that is utilized by a local cattle dipping station, the group cannot regularly fill their water tank. The irrigation system is in the process up being upgraded to address this shortcoming with the provision of a water pump and the layout of a more effective dragline system.

Vukuzakhe Community Garden: Utilizing their own funds, this group had appointed an unscrupulous irrigation ‘specialist’ to install their irrigation system. The provider installed a totally ineffective system that simply did not work and then the “specialist” disappeared. For three years, the group has tried to make the best use of the few items that did work, such as the pump, to provide some water for irrigation but with limited success. This system is now being removed and a brand new dragline system being installed which will include a water tank 6m off the ground which will provide ample pressure to effectively irrigate the whole garden.

Vukezenzele-Usebenze Community Garden: Lead by an extremely strong local community champion, this group has been slowly accruing, piece-by-piece and a simple irrigation system for their garden. This is one of the few gardens that has a good all year round supply of water from a spring that runs through the centre of the garden. With the funding provided by the Ackerman Pick ‘n Pay Foundation, their irrigation system has been completed and upgraded to optimize the potential of this garden to produce high levels of good quality produce.

Vusanani Community Garden: In the build up to previous elections, the installation of an irrigation system at this garden was initiated under the auspices of the local municipality. Unfortunately, the installation was never fully completed and today this under-utilized garden has a non-functioning system. Water is readily available from a local pan from which community members manually collect water to irrigate their gardens. Aside from being a highly ineffective and labour intensive method to irrigate a community garden, the pan is home to crocodiles and hippo making this is a high-risk undertaking. The current irrigation system is currently being completed and the garden expanded to increase the amount of land available for cultivation.

Thandanani Community Garden: For years this group has irrigated their garden by manually collecting water from a nearby river. This has severely limited potential yields and, as such, a new dragline irrigation