Poely resorts to horticulture
22 Nov 2023
Farmers in Gojwane have become the torch bearers of “A re Chencheng” slogan under Mindset Change pillar of the Reset Agenda by transitioning from subsistence farming to horticulture farming.
Mr Nkosana Poely aged 53, is among farmers who transitioned from subsistence to horticulture farming.
The former BCL mine employee had to come up with ways of surviving after the mine went under in 2016.
Mr Poely resorted to farming after relocating from Selebi Phikwe to Gojwane in part, to make ends meet and also to play a part in reducing Botswana’s import bill for food commodities.
The decision was not one he stumbled upon, it was only a matter of time or a change in circumstances before he got started.
Not only is he passionate about farming, he long started a backyard garden, a sign that farming perhaps is his true vocation.
“During my tenure as a BCL employee I happened to have a backyard garden where I produced rape, spinach, green pepper, tomatoes and onions. This opened my eyes to the reality that farming is profitable,” said Mr Poely.
Like any other business venture, his first few years in Gojwane were no walk in park as he was faced with a mammoth task of maintaining the fence and proceeds went towards drilling a borehole, a necessity for horticulture farming.
Nonetheless, quitting for him was not an option. He soldiered on. With subsistence farming, Mr Poely admits that it is cheaper, particularly with the support of ISPAAD but not as profitable as horticulture, due to erratic rainfall.
“I sell my produce to schools in Gojwane and Serule as well as individuals,” Mr Poely said.
Clearly, there were no short cuts for Mr Poely but with time things started to look up -- a borehole materialised.
Fact that he is a professional hydrologist worked in his favour, he did not struggle to identify a water point and fortunately, he did not have to drill too deep.
Mr Poely said he could not be happier after equipping his borehole, that he eventually had the most important resource to set his plan in motion, thanks to the Horticulture Impact Accelerator Subsidy.
What remained was to produce good quality vegetables. To achieve that, he resorted to using organic materials though in part to cut costs.
“As an upcoming farmer I do not have enough money to buy inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and pesticides however, I want to produce quality products naturally.
“This is why I have adopted conservation agriculture together with crop rotation, to help increase the fertility of the soil as well and control pests and weeds.
“I recommend conservation agriculture, for farmers who are new to horticulture farming.
“I also recommend that they use open pollinated seeds as opposed to hybrids because the open pollinated seeds can be re-planted,”
As a modern farmer, Mr Poely said research was quite important saying “I learn some things through the internet, this has helped me in so many ways, including planning for my day.” The income he generates he said, went towards necessities as school fees and utility bills.
As someone who believes in sharing ideas, Mr Poely has been an inspiration to other farmers, including Mr Mabedi Lebang, another horticulture farmer who ditched subsistence crop production for horticulture.
With his help he applied for funding through the Horticulture Impact Accelerator Subsidy, to equip his borehole, and was able to buy solar panels, drip lines and seeds, to the tune of P45 000. The 59 year-old Mr Lebang said, had this funding been there years ago, he would have turned his life around at a young age.
Mr Lebang sells his produce in Tonota, Gojwane and Serule, to government institutions, informal sector and individuals. ENDS
Source : BOPA
Author : Kgotsofalang Botsang
Location : GOJWANE
Event : INTERVIEW
Date : 22 Nov 2023