As South Africans bare the effect of the drought, farmers throughout the country have shown solidarity with affected farmers. In response to the need for a farming network, local Muslim farmers have established a network of African Muslim farmers, called the African Muslim Farmers Association (AMFA).
AMFA is a non-profit organization that aims to; unify Muslim farmers, encourage commitment to society amongst Muslim farmers, establish a bursary programme, improve productivity, provide knowledge-based platforms, and to encourage a climate of Islamic ethos within agriculture activities.
In addition, the organization endeavours to encourage youth to pursue a career in agriculture in order to ensure the production of safe and halal foods.
AMFA spokesperson Dr Ahmed Jamaloodeen said as the organization makes contact with more Muslim farmers, it has discovered that Muslim farmers are not only involved in all forms of agriculture, but that they are at the forefront of the market and have won awards in all aspects, particularly in livestock sector.
“It has been wonderful to discover that the brothers are involved and that they are doing so well,” Jamaloodeen said.
The organization co-hosted its first workshop with the Newcastle Cattle Breedes Association in Newcastle in February, which was successfully attended by 147 Muslim farmers.
During the workshop, the attendees decided upon formalizing the organization and subsequently elected a management committee.
He said that the drought and the increase in interest rates will, understandably, have an impact on the farming sector.
Jamaloodeen further noted that since the drought affects all South Africans, through developing a network, farmers will be able to understand what the requirements of communities are and who can subsequently assist.
“In working together, we can share resources and information, and increase efficiency and sustainability, and allow Muslim farmers to speak with a united voice. Farmers can, thereby, interact with certain stakeholders so that we can get the most for Muslim farmers in terms of drought aid,” he said.
He explained that since the organization’s ultimate goal is to assist in improving South Africa as a whole, the process of creating a network should not be exclusionary or monopolistic, as it was historically.