Tov goes commercial

27 November 2019 | Agriculture

The Tsumeb-based Tov multipurpose centre has decided to utilise its resettlement farm near Tsintsabis to farm commercially, in order to generate money to feed 65 orphans and vulnerable children at the centre.

Tov is planning to turn the farm into an irrigation project, in order to make the centre self-sustainable in the long run.

Tov technical director Reverend Edward Amadhila told Ewi lyaNooli that in 2004 they acquired the 10-hectare Tov Evergreen resettlement farm situated between Tsumeb and Tsintsabis, with the aim to enable the centre to generate an income.

Amadhila said the centre was dependent on donor funding until Namibia was classified as upper-middle-income country, which he said has seen many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) closing down in the last 14 months.

The centre aims to rehabilitate street children who are school dropouts by making sure they return to school, as the dropout rate in Tsumeb is reportedly very high.

Amadhila said over the years the centre has assisted many children to complete their education and today they are productive members of society.

“When the centre was established we used to get funding from donor agencies until Namibia was classified as an upper-middle-income country. We then started struggling financially to keep the centre, as well as the children.

“We then approached the government to give us a resettlement farm so that we can start farming in order to generate our own income,” Amadhila said.

“At the moment we have introduced vegetable, traditional chicken and cattle to the farm. If I look back during the last few years, I can confidently tell you the farm has helped us a lot. If we have a problem of N$5 000 we sell a cow and for us to pay water and electricity we sell chickens or vegetables. We also use the same commodities to feed the children.”

Amadhila said he relocated to the farm three months ago with the purpose of making it bigger and better.

He said he has been joined by two retired farmworkers, Oom Piet and Oom Ben, who are assisting him to ensure that the project succeeds.

“We decided for the first time that we will go commercial and our plan for next year is to start with an irrigation project for January to March for 4 000 pumpkins, April to June for 6 000 cabbages, July to September for 5 000 water melons and October to December we will grow 2 000 tomatoes,” Amadhila said.

He said they have a solar water pump system, but sometimes the water is not enough, therefore, they need a diesel generator to pump water in the evening.

He added that on 19 December they will hold a fundraising event that will feature a 10-kilometre walk from Tsintsabis to the Tov Evergreen Farm, in order to raise funds for a hand tractor, diesel generator, fertiliser tank, hydroponic system and a small machine to cut and crush trees into animal fodder and seeds.