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Training and empowering women maize farmers in South Africa

Micro-farming / South Africa

Limpopo is one of the poorest states in South Africa, with rampant food insecurity and more than half of all households led by women. Water scarcity and the decreasing profitability of farming – including of maize, the country’s staple food – have resulted in fewer farms over the last two decades, despite a growing population. Rare productivity increases have been achieved at the expense of the environment, and have not been available to smallholder farmers with limited access to financing and training.

our Impact



farmers trained



female participants



cooperative set up



ha of land to be used by the cooperative

Our work

Louis Dreyfus Company is present in the Limpopo region through Progress Milling, a maize mill sourcing directly from 14,000 local smallholder maize farmers. Leveraging LDC’s presence and expertise, the Foundation works with TechnoServe to implement a training program for local maize farmers. Targeting yield improvements through sustainable agriculture best practice, the program aims to help farmers move from subsistence farming to a more sustainable, business-oriented approach, and to encourage local youth to take up maize farming as a way to alleviate food insecurity and poverty. The program also has a special focus on women, who represent over 60% of Limpopo’s agricultural workforce, in an effort to reduce the yield and income gender gap.


228 female farmers were trained in 9 theoretical and practical modules covering economics, legal matters, marketing and agri-technologies and methods.

A farmer’s cooperative (comprising 30 female trainees) has been set up.

About our partners

Louis Dreyfus Company is a leading merchant and processor of agricultural goods, leveraging its global reach and extensive asset network to delivery for its customers around the world – safely, responsibly and reliably.

TechnoServe is  an organization established in 1968 that has successfully used a private enterprise approach to assist low-income people in the developing world to build and strengthen sustainable agriculture-based businesses, industries, and the enabling environment, catalysing competitive, market-led development.

Project Duration