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Pyramid farming is an effective farming model where people can plant crops in a limited space, whether in the backyards or flats, etc. The different crops can be planted on a laddering order where they enjoy effective watering and interdependence. In a partly cloudy October morning, representatives from the mine management, the Agro department, the municipality office and community workers took to plant the seedlings. Subsequent to the tradition of arbour day, Harmony Executive for Sustainable Development, Melanie Naidoo-Vermaak fostered the idea of crop planting as it is more beneficial to communities. Firstly, there would be enough supply of seedlings as the pyramids are prepared with rich soil for effective cultivation.In this regard the elderly people may plant and grow sustainable healthy harvest, which they, in turn sell the surplus to communities.
According to Harmony sustainable development manager, George Masha the pilot beneficiaries are Slovoville and Snake Park as part of the communities enjoying support from the mine by their proximal location to its operations. By working with ward councillors, the non-profit organisations that effectively serve the communities are identified. According to Molefi Hlahane, a facilitator at the ‘Good Samaritan Home’ in Slovoville, the home hosts up to 500 elderly people. Speaking whilst the elderly watered the gardens, Molefi appreciated the support from Harmony in the establishment of food that also helped feed their members who are based at home and are bedridden.
The plants are almost at harvest stage and in the success, project leader Gogo Jabu Belebesi acknowledged working with George Masha over time and highlighted that by working together with the mine, more can be achieved in the communities.
As with the Slovo home, the Thulani Dlamini Home Based Centre in Block 5 Snake Park, senior citizens come in for a wellness programs, for a healthy lifestyle, do regular exercises and therefore healthy eating is essential according to project leader, Lerato Molefe. It is evident that they love cultivating the food gardens that culminate into an organic food produce. Supplemented by food parcels they receive monthly, this helps those on chronic medication as they are provided a meal at the centre prior to taking their medication.
Lerato reiterated that they get education on health and the importance of consuming veggies. The income they receive from selling the fresh produce is brought into the centre’s kitty and helps sustain the organization.
The food supplements also help augment the feeding scheme for orphans and vulnerable children. It is crucial that the formal farming education is disseminated, therefore there is always an expert that visits, offering farming lessons at the centre. Lerato added that on the pyramid planting they use permaculture where one crop depends on another to grow effectively. “For example, a variety of vegetable crops such us spring onions, beet root, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, etc, are mixed with herbs including the insect repellent species as well as those that contains health properties.” Sustainable farmer Fedzisani Mudau, demonstrated to the keen prospective farmers, on how to plant different crops at once, preparing the well manured soil for inserting seedlings and proper watering, leaving space for proper germination, etc. The hierarchical order of knowing where to plant which vegetable crops on each level of the pyramid and the permutations of factors such proper sunlight are essential.
The upbeat ward 50 councillor, Bheki Magaga has been grateful to the mining company for creating a platform where initiatives that are beneficial to the community reach their fruition, and that the mine plays a crucial role in community development and sustainability. His office intends to uplift the NPOs as the play a crucial part and without which there wouldn’t be an opportunity to penetrate the core needs in societies. “They help bring the senior citizens together through numerous activities that keep them occupied and in good company,far away from stressful, inadequate circumstances.” Concluded Magaga.
Jerry Sokhupe. Soweto Sunrise News csi.gstȸZ��&