Elusive Harvest book launch
"An Elusive Harvest" by Dr David Catling is a book that not only tells the story of the non-governmental organisation, the Land Development Unit (LDU), but also takes an honest look at its achievements, challenges and mistakes made. The LDU was involved with rural community farmers with the aim to empower these communities, and to, through agriculture, assist these communities to improve their standard of living. The LDU was not only involved with rural community farmers, but also with community vegetable gardens and food security gardens in the townships all over the Western Cape. The book was launched on 5 February at Elsenburg, the farm on which the Department of Agriculture: Western Cape's head office is situated. This was fitting in many ways: The Department assisted with funding the production of the book, and David Catling also started his academic career on Elsenburg, at the Agricultural College.
Dr David Catling immigrated to South African in 1949. He received a PhD in zoology and entomology from Potchefstroom University and has worked in various capacities in related agricultural fields in southern Africa, South Korea, Bangladesh, Thailand, India and Cambodia. Catling was a founding member and leader of the LDU.
Minister Cobus Dowry, MEC for Agriculture in the Western Cape, was the guest speaker at the launch. He said: "I believe that this book serves a threefold purpose, namely the important role that NGO’s have to play in our partnerships with outside organisations, the importance of the history of the struggle to empower people and the lessons learnt from that and finally very important practical experiences that we can apply in our own programmes with regard to small farmers and their role in our fight against poverty, and food insecurity."
One of the most notable guests at the launch was Carmen Stevens, one of the LDU's bursary holders, who was the first woman from a previously disadvantaged community to qualify as a wine maker. She is at present wine maker at Asara wine estate.