Agriculture MEC hands over citrus project in Brits

MEC Desbo Mohono of Agriculture and Rural Development in the North West on Monday officially handed over the Batlhako Temo Project to five farmers on a farm in Sanddrift near Brits.

The 61 ha citrus farm at Sanddrift.

The project, founded in 2010, has been funded by the national Department of Land Reform and Rural Development through Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy program (PLAS) in 2012, and the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development which assisted the business on two occasions with Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme funding (CASP) to improve their irrigation system.

Batlhako Temo consists of three women and two men and it produces a variety of citrus products which are supplied to major citrus companies and the export market.

Speaking during the handover, MEC Mohono praised the project founders for their determination and hard work. “Batlhako Temo Project is a fantastic initiative that ties in well with our department’s vision statement which talks to a united and transformed agricultural sector for inclusive growth. This is what we want to see in our province. As much as we are officially giving the key to Batlhako, government will always remain a stone throw away in making sure that this becomes a success for future generations.”

Batlhako Temo exports to Taiwan, the Middle East and have now entered the China market.

During the 2021 fiscal year, the project received another grant from the national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to purchase machinery, build workers housing, purchase trees and for production input.

Isaac Moilwa, one of the co-founders and manager of Batlhako Temo extended his gratitude towards the department for the assitance which enabled them to contribute to the local and international economy, “We need to support our black farmers to create employment. The cooperative employs about 50 pickers and an additional 30 pruners during picking time. If we can expand the orchards, then more jobs will be created” said Moilwa.