Agric association donates sorghum to the poor

MATOPI: The Tonota, Tutume and Masunga (TOTUMA) Arable Commercial Farmers Association has donated 23 bags of sorghum to the less privileged people in their locality.

At a ceremony at Matopi village Kgotla, the association donated 23 bags of 50kg sorghum to 20 beneficiaries in the southern region of Matopi, Matsiloje and Patayamatebele villages.

The association’s chairperson Priscilla Monthe told Mmegi that despite last year’s poor rains the association found it necessary to donate sorghum bags to the needy.

Monthe said majority of people in their area were living in abject poverty, a situation worsened by the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) that wiped all their livestock years back.

She said farmers in the area were also left empty handed after the elephants destroyed their crops in the previous ploughing season.

“We have decided to start the donation to the people of these three villages because in the previous ploughing season, they did not harvest a thing as their crops were destroyed by elephants leaving them empty handed,” she said.

Monthe said that the association made up of 90 members contributed sorghum to make up the 23 bags to give to the poor.

This act, she said was part of the association mandates, and was in response to President Ian Khama’s appeal to give to the less privileged in the community.

Also, it was their way of responding to one of the Vision 2016 pillars of a ‘Just, compassionate and caring nation’.

“TOTUMA has a plan of hosting this kind of ceremony annually and also aim at increasing the volume of their goods depending on the year’s harvest,” said Monthe.

She said in the North East District there are around 950 poor people, of which about 400 are classified as living in abject poverty.

The association has greater plans, part of which is to look beyond the borders of the country, and supply agricultural produce to the whole of the SADC region.

Monthe explained that their members are involved in different types of agricultural business, some in fodder production, which has become a great need in animal feed.

To ensure professionalism and maximum profit, she said the association members only plough using row planting that government encourages, completely moving away from the wasteful old method of broadcasting seeds.

She said that they occasionally hold harvest day, farm walks as well as workshops to share knowledge on farming.

Monthe applauded the government for the support they have been giving to farmers through different initiatives meant to empower citizens in farming.

Giving a word of encouragement earlier on, Assistant Minister of Agriculture Fidelis Molao applauded TOTUMA association for the love they have displayed towards needy people.

Molao said that government alone cannot afford to care for the needy.

“After their crops were destroyed by elephants, farmers were compensated but it was not enough therefore I plead for everyone’s assistance in helping the needy people,” said Molao.

Molao encouraged farmers to group themselves so that they can benefit under government’s programmes like Livestock Management Infrastructure Development (LIMID) that can help them fence their fields and as well as digging boreholes inside their farms.

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