Nkomamonta Organic Farmers Agricultural Co-operative celebrated a signed trade agreement with Pick ‘n Pay at Karibu Lodge, Tzaneen on 30 May 2012.
The 16-member farmers who are located in Greater Tzaneen Local Municipality in Mopani have registered their co-operative in 2005. They have never looked back since. The 1221 hectare agricultural co-operative has employed 60 workers from Nkowankowa, Mamitwa, Modjadi, Nkuna, Tarentaalrand and Afcolaco, and its name derives from these areas and hence the name Nkomamonta.
Nkomamonta received the certificate of approval from Bio Dynamic & Organic Certification Authority (BDOCA) in 2006 and 2007 respectively. And its outstanding produce was endorsed again in 2008 and 2010 when the follow up inspection was undertaken by the BCS ÖKO-GARANTlE.
The approval from these bodies granted Nkomamonta to become one of the suppliers of organic produce to Pick’ n Pay through the Department of Trade and Industry (dti)’s Small Business Incubator programme. The co-operative has been operating on a Standing Growers’ Agreement with Woolworths supplying organic vegetables since 2008 before its contract to supply to Pick’ n Pay.
Through Trade and Investment Limpopo’s facilitation, Netherlands based PUM Senior Executives provided training and business administration to Nkomamonta. Limpopo MEC for Agriculture Mr Jacob Marule was impressed about the cooperative’s positive spin-off. “I have been preaching the importance of co-operatives; we cannot afford to work in silos.
“Subsistence farmers should become commercial farmers through co-operatives. We need food security through co-operatives,” Marule said. He said without cooperatives, the country would rely on import of some commodities. Marule said farmers should see a niche market in organic farming. The view shared by dti’s Mr Bhekinkosi Dlamini and Pick ‘n Pay’s Mr Isaac Motaung. They said retail stores such as SPAR, Checkers and Woolworths shown interest in organic products since organic farming was eco-friendly.
Delivering her keynote address, Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) MEC Pinky Kekana said, “We must ensure that the co-operative we put in place must be sustainable. Nkomamonta is our shining star. You taught us that you were not a selfish team. You wanted to share and adopt the notion that working together we can get richer and richer.”
Representatives from Small Enterprise Development Agency, Limpopo Business Support Agency, dti, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Limpopo Department of Agriculture, Limpopo department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Greater Tzaneen Municipality witnessed the historic trade agreement between Nkomamonta Organic Farmers Agricultural Co-operative and Pick’ n Pay.