FAULTLESS TOWER: uMlazi residents learn about urban agriculture, including growing vegetables using the tower garden method. Picture: Duncan Guy

DURBAN - EVEN people with limited garden space can grow their own food. This was the message from Deputy Agriculture Minister Bheki Cele who spread the word in uMlazi this week. He said the government needed to help the youth become interested in agriculture.

Ntsekiseng Ntoa, an agriculture Master’s student from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus, said more investment would encourage youngsters.

“Many of the youth believe it’s dirty work. They have the mindset of wanting a job sitting in an office and to get rich that way, rather than going to university to get skills to start their own businesses.”

More money invested in agriculture would make it more attractive to the youth.

A Mayville market gardener, Million Phehlukwayo, who has land he wishes to develop to help people become more productive, called for materials rather than cash.

WATCH: Agriculture deputy minister Bheki Cele promotes urban agriculture

Video: Duncan Guy/Independent Media

“I need something I can plough with – seedlings, irrigation, tanks. Not money, but material. Money keeps people from doing things. It can make them lazy.”
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries irrigation technicians Nomsa Masemulo and Benny Motsoko demonstrated tower gardening to uMlazi residents.

It involves making a drum-like structure in plastic sacking, or shade cloth, with soil inside and stones and bricks in the middle. Root plants such as carrots and beetroot can be grown on the top and plants like spinach from holes on the sides. 

Motsoko said the stones in the tower filtered grey water and gave the water direction when it was poured in from the top. “People here who plant vegetables still do so the old way they learned in rural areas, digging furrows, which needs space.”

Motsoko and Masemulo also promoted the idea of neutralising soapy, grey water with ash and harvesting rain water.

The Independent On Saturday