In its efforts to promote sustainable use of natural resources and improved livelihoods, Tcheku Community Trust has secured close to P1 million pula funding to establish a devil`s claw (Sengaparile) farm using greenhouse technology.
This follows an observation made by the trust about the mass illegal harvest of the indigenous plant in their concession (NG13). Sengaparile is known as a traditional medicine that can cure a variety of illnesses.
The project has been funded through the Small Grants Program at a tune of 47,768.89 USD and it will entail construction of a greenhouses, ablution block, storage room and farm office in their 500 hector farm in Tobere settlement.
In an interview, Tcheku Trust public relations officer Tebogo James revealed that owing to a national shortage of drugs, they have recorded a rampant illegal harvest of the indigenous plant for commercial purposes in their concession.
He indicated that the main concept of the project is to conserve, bio diversify and sustainable use of indigenous medicine while generating income from it to improve the socio-economic welfare of their member communities.
The performance of the project James said will be measured through monthly monitoring of the growth of the plant in terms of weight and length of its roots until they meet target weight for harvesting.
“The impact of the project will be assessed over time through the number of illegal harvesters of the plant in NG 13 and the research data regarding the demand of the plant for analysis,” James noted.
He further said there is need to conserve indigenous medicinal plants due to the re-emerging medical drugs shortage in the country which he says has contributed to the reliance on traditional medicines.
He indicated that for sustainability the project plan is to sell its produce and use the profits to buy its own fertilizers, have a share contribution to community projects and to cover all other running expenses. James said in that way the project will be self-sustainable and similar projects can be taken to other beneficiary villages in the long run.
“For the conservatory part the project will contribute on the regeneration and conservation of the plant and also the sustainable use and improvement of the socio-economic welfare of the member communities,” James noted.