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BRPM – Restoring Hope for the Future

Michael Putu’s Story

By Sicelo Khumalo

031714_1311_BAFOKENGRAS1A beneficiary of BRPM food security project, Michael Putu, 54, is residing at one of Macherora communities called Chaneng. His household consists of seven members and those who are economic active are unemployed- expect his wife who works as a cleaner in one of the Sun City shops. Putu was self employed and transported commuters from Macherora communities to Sun City. Unfortunately, he was forced to leave the taxi business by challenges beyond his control. To continue putting food on the table, Putu decided to start practising vegetable production and rear indigenous chickens for family consumption.

Initially Putu battled to grow crops, due to his lack of farming knowledge and other challenges such as; infertile soils, pest and diseases and the produce not looking fresh and healthy. For this reason, he could not even sell the produce to generate income for his family. Fortunately, heard about the BRPM project, and jumped at the opportunity to be training in intensive vegetable production. He also received agricultural infrastructure which entailed a greenhouse tunnel and two underground water harvesting tanks.

With the training and infrastructure, Putu is now able to produce fresh and healthy vegetables for his family and is also selling excess to local shops, passers-by and neighbours. To date, he has sold produce worth a R1000. It is important to note that through the household agricultural project Putu has also developed marketing skills as he is able to decide what variety of vegetable is in demand and who to sell to. He is also diversifying his produce and expanding his garden. “I don’t buy vegetables any more and through the money I get from selling produce, I am able to buy groceries and seeds for my garden,” said Putu gratefully.

Undoubtedly, BRPM has improved the livelihoods of Macherora beneficiaries and Putu bears testimony to that. It is wonderful that the project has also incubated business opportunities and some of the beneficiaries, like Putu, have already tapped into such prospects. Indeed Putu has taken full advantage of the project and is using it to his full potential. “I’m very grateful to BRPM and hope other Macherora community members get as great an opportunity as me,” said Putu.