Organic farming is all the crazy at the moment, and Kokstad based DMT Agricultural Cooperative is joining the fun. This youth cooperative has leased 25 hectares for a period of 10 years, and 4 hectares on the farm will be used to plant plants from which essential oils will be extracted. Essential oils are used as ingredients in most perfumes, lotions and other deodorized products. The rest of the farm will be used for cash crops – for now.
Seda is assisting with advice and guidance to the cooperative, and one of the areas identified already is to assist in raising funds. The cooperative needs to raise its production of essential oils to 10 hectares, but that is impossible without funding.
Seda is also identifying skills gaps in the cooperative so that the correct training can be offered to the members. The agency involved an experienced consultant under Farmers Agro to provide training and 6 months mentorship and advice on crop production. The training and mentorship included soil sampling and analysis, choosing appropriate crop varieties for Umzikhulu area, soil preparation and planting, harvesting and packaging.
With Seda’s intervention, DMT has successfully planted 20 hectares of various vegetables such as mealies, cabbage, green pepper, spinach and butternuts. The remaining 5 hectares have been used for essential oils crops.
DMT’s reputation is also growing every day with its growing customer base. The cooperative has been awarded a contract to supply vegetables to correctional services in Kokstad. They also supply vegetables to markets in Port Shepstone. Pick n Pay and Boxer in Kokstad and Spar in Umzimkulu are some of the mainstream retailers currently sourcing their products from the cooperative farm.
At least 33 seasonal jobs are created for local youth.