Chanoga — The P2.4 million horticulture pilot project at Chanoga is said to be on track and the first harvest is expected end of this year.
The project, initiated by Chanoga community in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Research and funded by Office of the President (OP) commenced this year.
The project followed the decision by the OP to identify six villages where the project could be piloted under Poverty Eradication Programme.
Government intention was to start the projects where there was reliable water source and Chanoga was chosen due to proximity to Thamalakane River.
Recently, the Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Patrick Ralotsia visited Chanoga to appreciate the project and was impressed with progress and efforts made at the site.
He was impressed to learn that the solar panel had been installed and that the project was up and running as there were some maize and water melons planted.
Updating him about progress, an official from Agricultural Research, Mr Kenneth Mabote explained that about 12 beneficiaries had been identified through the office of the social worker to run the project.
He said the installation of the solar power was complete, adding that the design was done by the Department of Water Affairs and that a 350 000-litre tank had been put at the plot site
Mr Mabote said currently, they had ploughed one hectare and they practiced intercropping. He said they also intended to start a seedbed for easy accessibility of seedlings once they harvest.
Minister Ralotsia appreciated the project, saying it was a good initiative and encouraged his officers to give courage to the beneficiaries so that the project produced the intended results.
He said they should make the project more vibrant so that the beneficiaries could demonstrate commitment and hard work, adding that, "You should use your expertise to motivate them so that they up their game and ensure the first harvest becomes a success," he added.
He said the area had a lot of water, hence the whole three- hectare plot must be productive as the aim was to produce food.
Mr Ralotsia urged the beneficiaries to take care of the project. He said government had injected millions into it, hence the need to work hard and produce food to feed the nation.
Beneficiaries wished the ministry could provide accommodation at the site as some of the beneficiaries stayed far from Chanoga.
They also called for construction of ablution blocks at the site, but the minister told them that they could only consider building toilets not accommodation as it was not budgeted for.