UNDP, with financing from the Global Environment Facility, is providing technical and financial support to the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission in Botswana. A key component of project is the demonstration of environmentally conscious livelihoods and socio-economic development.
In partnership with the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security of Botswana and the Ngamiland Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (NCONGO) farmers in the Maun area have received equipment such as shade nets, wells and water tanks to develop their businesses and grow more food for local markets.
“We had frost for two consecutive years and were attacked by a pest called tomato leaf minor. We did not know what it was or how to manage it. That was the last straw and the next year we could not produce any tomatoes at all,” says Noseko Keemetsekgosi as he walks in between rows of tomatoes with his wife Kgalalelo. The couple runs Sesame Farm which boasts a healthy tomato crop under a shade net. It is hard to believe that merely eight months ago, Noseko was faced with disaster when the river dried up. After 12 well points, a shade net and a water tanks were installed on his land he was able start growing tomatoes again.
Located 200 metres from the Thamalakane River, the water pumps now ensure a sufficient supply for crop irrigation. “The water is used to sustain our farm and it is a blessing. We do not use any farming equipment or products which contaminates the water, so that it can continue to sustain us for the future,” he says.
Kgalalelo ensures the tomatoes are well packaged and labelled. “I make sure to present myself professionally to the retailers because appearance, and language really matters. Right now our tomatoes are in demand, so we don’t need to struggle.” Since July they have supplied local retailers with 452 kilograms of tomatoes. This success has given Noseko the confidence to re-invest earnings and expand.
Chatiwa Gaekgotswe bends down to examine a leafy head of lettuce, as her young son trails happily behind her in the deep…