Otsile Kgomo (23) is driving change in his community by teaching people how to produce their own crops.
Kgomo, from Makapanstad in the North West, owns Bakone Balemi Evergreen, a registered non-governmental organisation (NGO) that produces vegetables to sell to local markets.
He also started two community-based programmes called Bakone Setshabeng and PlantEdu. The two initiatives educate communities about growing a small-scale crop business.
Bakone Setshabeng sees Kgomo and other mentors visiting selected participants to equip them with crop production knowledge. “We also introduce them to new ways of producing. This helps them learn how to get their produce to the market, which leads to independence and the creation of jobs,” he explains.
In the PlantEdu Programme, Kgomo and his team visit schools to teach learners about the fundamentals of agriculture. “We teach youngsters so that they can grow up with knowledge of agriculture. We also cultivate passion in those who are already interested in farming,” he says.
The organisation runs both of its programmes in Soshanguve. “At Thutong Secondary School, we identified 10 less fortunate learners to receive vegetable packs on weekends. In Soshanguve Block XX, 23 households are beneficiaries. Formal and informal training, seeds and fertilisers are provided.”
Beneficiary Joyce Selwane is grateful for the programme. “It has really helped me and my family during the Coronavirus Disease pandemic, as I lost my job as a cleaner. The programme helped us produce food,” she says.
A passion for agriculture
Kgomo says his passion for agriculture motivated him to make a success of his organisation.
He also holds a National Diploma in Agricultural Crop Production from the Tshwane University of Technology.
“Before I obtained my diploma, I decided to volunteer for a year in an organisation called Green Awareness in the North West. This is where my love of agriculture began.”
Working for Green Awareness allowed Kgomo to partner with farmers and other professionals, and to develop a green awareness campaign in the community.
After completing his studies, he got an opportunity to be part of an internship at the Department of Correctional Services in Baviaansport.
“The money I received from the internship, savings and marginal income from harvesting small produce is how I started Bakone Setshabeng and PlantEdu.”
He says both programmes are sustained by the income he receives from harvesting and selling his produce.
For more information call Bakone Setshabeng and PlantEdu on 076 272 6732.