|Names left to right:
Sipho Mathe, Food & Trees for Africa representative
Tinashe Mutoredzanwa, Trees and Carbon Programme Manager at Food & Trees for Africa
Kate Cunningham, Bidvest Communications
Gavin Smith, Centurion Branch Manager at Konica Minolta South Africa
Rethabiseng township, in Bronkhorstspruit, is set to bloom over the coming months as the community received a bumper delivery of 500 tree saplings as part of Food & Trees for Africa’s (FTFA) Trees for Homes project. Crowds of community members turned out in force for the hand over on Monday, 24 March. Bidvest company, Konica Minolta South Africa funded the trees in honour of World Water Day, on 22 March.
Ten local community educators (CEs), trained by FTFA, handed out 250 fruit trees and 250 indigenous shade trees to the community residents to plant in their gardens, along with instructions on the planting and care of the trees.
Sarah (pictured), a community resident, was delighted to receive her peach tree. Like many others in Rethabiseng, she is currently unemployed and plans to sell the peaches when her tree starts to bear fruit in a bid to generate an income for her family.
As well as a potential source of sustainable income for many households, the tree planting project will improve the environmental health of the community and make it a greener, more pleasant place to live.
Staff from Konica Minolta South Africa’s Pretoria sales office planted a tree at the Rethabiseng sustainable farm to honour the event. The day marks an incredible six years of support for FTFA by Konica Minolta South Africa, in which it has funded the planting of more than 18,000 trees in some of the most impoverished areas in South Africa.
Ritchi Smith, marketing co-ordinator, said, “The planting of trees is a really important part of Konica Minolta South Africa‘s efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and it’s great to be here to see the positive impact on the community.”
The day also served as a good opportunity for community members and funders alike to witness the progress of another impressive FTFA project, the Rethabiseng Sustainable Farm, which hosted the hand over. Run by a cooperative of six local people, it is a FTFA’s FEED Africa (Farmer Eco Enterprise Development) project, which supports emerging organic farmers through land and infrastructure development, training and mentoring support, to take produce to local, super and international markets. In the three years since starting as a bare patch of land, the farm now employs 35 people and grows a large number of vegetables for major markets, with exports going as far as Germany.
Tinashe Mutoredzanwa, FTFA’s Trees for Homes programme manager said, “Our projects won’t just contribute to providing a better living environment for Rethabiseng residents, through Konica Minolta South Africa’s ongoing support we are reaching out to all areas of the community and providing holistic, sustainable development support to grow food, farmers and fortunes.”