A decade ago Fikile Khiva and four of his peers established a trading entity with the aim of creating jobs, alleviating poverty and having the Eastern Cape village of Nkangeni Park serve as a model for a self-sustained rural community.
Today the Varhoyi and Mgodleni Co-op has grown to over 40 members and, with the support of Checkers, the co-op is running a thriving food garden. The project derives its name from two chiefs (Varhoyi and Mgodleni) who led the two separate villages that would eventually become Nkangeni Park.
- Fikile Khiva from the Varhoyi and Mgodleni Co-op
- Fikile Khiva
They started off with 1 hectare of land and have grown their garden to more than 30 hectares. Initially the land was overgrown and unfenced, so a lot of work was put into clearing and preparing it for planting.
Seeing the potential for growth, Fikile approached Checkers for assistance: “I wanted to formalise the garden.”
Food and Trees for Africa, the supermarket chain’s implementation partner, assisted by offering workshops covering gardening methods as well as modules in business administration over an 18-month period. Fikile says infrastructure developments like the pack shed, mini-truck, tractor and implements were a game-changer for the co-op, which recently participated in one of the successful Market Days hosted at selected Checkers stores nationwide.
Support from Checkers has developed hope, pride, and self-belief in the community.
- Fikile Khiva