MATSAPHA – SEDCO has recently trained 72 households from five chiefdoms under the Sigwe Constituency in the Shiselweni Region in planting and caring for fruit trees.
SEDCO is the Small Enterprises Development Company. These trainings were conducted with the assistance and support of the area’s Agricultural Extension Officer.
Sigwe Inkhundla is one of four constituencies that were selected to be beneficiaries of fruit tree seedlings that were sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organisation in support of the National Integrated Tinkhundla Fruit Tree Development Project.
This project aims to intensify the SEDCO’s one household-one product programme through embarking on fruit tree production by household clusters, schools churches and neighbourhood care points. To date, a total of 36 household clusters, made of 100 households each and 47 schools have benefitted from the project and a total of 33600 fruit trees have been disbursed.
The national integrated Tinkhundla fruit tree development Programme was initiated by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade through SEDCO as one of the initiatives for eradicating poverty and in pursuit of the ministry’s mandate to provide ways and means of income generation through entrepreneurship.
The project aims to create a critical mass of same type fruits that have a pre-determined market in order to replace imports of fresh fruits and to inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship among school going youth.
For one to access assistance, prerequisites that apply include availability of land on which to grow the fruit trees, nearby water source to enable all year round irrigation, secure fencing to prevent damage to trees by animals and prior training on fruit tree production.
The project provides capacity building, seed capital, fertilisers and chemicals to its beneficiaries which include women, orphaned and vulnerable children and school-going children. It aims to penetrate the fruits value chain thereby creating opportunities for income generation and distribution over the long term.