Sunday, April 21, 2024

Selebi Phikwe citrus farm boosts SPEDU economy

Businesses operating within the SPEDU region has reaped substantial benefits exceeding P120 million from the Selibe Phikwe Citrus Farm project over the past three years. President Mokgweetsi Masisi disclosed this during the inauguration of the farm’s first harvest last Thursday. He highlighted that a variety of goods and services, ranging from land rentals to irrigation and staff accommodation, were procured from both big and small enterprises.

Masisi emphasized the global demand for citrus products, underscoring the need for private sector involvement in the citrus industry’s value chain. He urged exploration of opportunities such as research and development, manufacturing of fruit juice, and seedlings production to further capitalize on this demand and create employment opportunities.

“We need to fully exploit opportunities within the citrus industry and create further exports from secondary industries and most importantly create more job opportunities for our people. It is therefore only befitting that we relentlessly continue with our quest to establish export market access for Selibe Phikwe Citrus,” he said.

Additionally, Masisi stressed the importance of mentoring small farmers and cooperatives in meeting quality standards and accessing markets. He proposed a collaborative approach, involving joint ventures and cooperative models, to foster knowledge-sharing and sustainable growth within the industry.

Masisi highlighted government initiatives, including capacity building programs and funding support through initiatives like the Chema Chema Fund, aimed at bolstering small-scale farmers and agro-processing businesses. He encouraged leveraging the increased citrus production from the Selibe Phikwe Citrus Farm to expand agro-processing activities and diversify household commodities.

The Selibe Phikwe Citrus Farm, covering 1,500 hectares and privately managed, was launched in December 2020 with a P300 million investment. It aims to revitalize and diversify the SPEDU region’s economy, particularly following the closure of the BCL mine, currently providing employment to over 300 individuals.

Producing a variety of fruits including mandarin oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, the farm targets both local and international markets, contributing to economic growth and job creation in the region.

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