As part of its social responsibility, Forsys in conjunction with it’s wholly sub Valencia Uranium (Pty) Limited embarked upon an ingenuous way of empowering Namibians by spearheading the ‘High 5 Concept’. The concept aims to unlock income-generating opportunities through self-employment with special focus on promoting SME-type ventures specializing in transporting supplies to the mine, bakery, butchery, grocery shop and vegetable production in Usakos. Following deliberations on the ‘High 5 Concept’ and in consultations with the implementing agency, it was decided that phase 1 of the ‘High 5 Projects’ be directed to vegetable production to ensure that beneficiaries are more focused and for the financial supporter (Valencia Uranium) to easily gauge adoption rate.
Project Objective and Outcome
The objective of the project is to enable the Usakos community to produce fresh vegetables for the Valencia and local market. This also provides an opportunity to actualize the Valencia- Usakos Community SMEs (VUCoSME) Trust and to roll-out other SMEs that will boost community self-employment and income generating activities within the town of Usakos. It is also expected that upon acquiring the necessary skills, members will be motivated to acquire more land and replicate this idea to enhance local food production and become self-sufficient.
The project obtained 4ha of land in partnership with the Usakos Town Council
At end of the Life of Mine the land will be returned to council to ensure continuity of the project
- Equipment and labour for this activity will be sourced from Usakos community
- Power and water for the project has been made available by the Usakos Municipality.
Operating supplies will be sourced from businesses in Usakos and beneficiaries will be engaged for the installation as part of their learning and to earn and income from the project. Storage facilities (including a cold room), site office, security and ablution facilities have been erected on site.
In order to ensure successful implementation of the project, training of beneficiaries as well as taking them on an exposure trip to similar projects was crucial. The training component covered, amongst others, the following:
- types of vegetables that can be grown in the local environment
- soil and seedbed preparation;
- importance and management of a nursery;
- planting/sowing and transplanting process for different vegetables;
- watering (incl. water quality; tips on efficient water use; timing, seasonal effects; etc.);
- fertilization (incl. composting & mixing of fertilizers within the context of organic farming);
- weeding methods, major plant diseases and pest and insect control measures;
- harvesting and post-harvest care, including selected marketing topics.
Valencia has provided funding of N$3.6M to establish and support the ongoing operation of the vegetable project. Produce is being marketed within immediate surrounding area and regionally to small consumers and large distributors.