The latest results of the agricultural projects done by people living with HIV and AIDs under the sponsorship of the Botswana Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (BONEPWA) around the country show that it is not all gloomy for people affected by the pandemic.
This became apparent from a recent tour of 30 combined vegetable gardens and Tswana chicken projects in Sekao Ward in Serowe Village where one of BONEPWA’s local support groups had a field day to showcase their food.
Dr Jonh Moreki, chairperson of the National Food Security Committee under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), and technical advisor to BONEPWA, commended BONEPWA on their food security projects.
“In my view, the most immediate result of these projects is the improvement of nutrition and assurance of food security at the households’ level,” said Moreki.
He pointed out that the fact that in addition to being able to access high protein from meat and essential vitamins like vitamins A, D and Selenium from vegetables, the project owners – largely people living with HIV or related disabilities – will now be able to sell part of their produce enabling them to afford transport and medicinal bills.
The partly Swedish sponsored project covers Nata, Kanye, Bobonong and Molepolole.“It is evident from this that it is possible to move away from the food basket, dependency syndrome to full scale self sustenance,” said Goitsemang.
In recognition of this, Goitsemang indicated that he recently called all service providers in Serowe to share the importance of sensitising MOA veterinary services and the crop production department and water affairs stakeholders.
“To me, what happened here today is sufficient cause to encourage the rest of the wards and other areas to benchmark from Sekao Ward group as to how to about empowering the community, especially people living with HIV & AIDS,” Goitsemang said.
According to the Projects Food Security officer, Richard Dikeme, the project, otherwise known as ‘Strengthening HIV/AIDS’ was implemented from October 2005 to October 2008, and during that period and at least 18 support groups of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDs were covered.
He stated that the second phase started in November last year.
The major component of this project is to promote the rearing of traditional Tswana chickens and backyard vegetable production.
“We would like this trend maintained both with the graduation of projects from a few chickens and a garden to a more increased economic base,” Moreki concluded.