By Noluthando Mkhize
QwaQwa – Several initiatives under the Comprehensive Rural Development Project (CRDP) are bearing fruit in the Free State, easing the lives of residents.
The Free State Premier Ace Magashula and Agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane visited Diyatalawa and Makgolokoeng in QwaQwa on Friday to monitor the progress of the CRDP projects that were launched to develop the areas.
Hostels have been built for learners so they no longer have to walk long distances to get to the local school. Accommodation is being built for teachers who struggle to get to work every day.
A major agri-village project is currently under way in Diyatalawa where community members are involved in agricultural and dairy farming. The Diyatalawa Agri-Village project includes the design and construction of a milk parlour, irrigation infrastructure and buying cattle for the project.
The construction of the milking parlour was complete with 10-point milking machinery, milk storage tank with a compressor to cool the milk. The Provincial Government has acquired 120 cattle as part of the project.
A committee was set by the community to run the Agri-village, ten of its members have been sent for training on dairy farming. The Department of Agriculture serves as an advisory to the committee.
The project also involves apple orchards and maize and plans are afoot to expand it.
The community sells their produce at the local market in Harrismith and local shops and Nestle has come on board as company that will be buying milk from the farm.
The community is also well on its way to accessing water easily with the implementation of the Sterkfontein Water Treatment Works for bulk water provision for Makgolokoeng and other villages in Qwa-Qwa. The project is 95 percent completed.
Solar Streets lights in Diyatalawa Agri-Village have also installed in the internal road.
The CRDP was launched by President Jacob Zuma in 2011following a visit to the area and community members expressed their concerns at the lack of employment opportunities, food security, water, electricity, roads and education.
It was identified as one of the pilot sites for the CRDP projects in the province.
MEC Zwane said government was starting to see results in the development of the area.
“We have taken time to learn about the project. We trust that the success of Diyatalawa will be implemented across the country. Fifty nine families are currently benefiting from the agri-village.” – SAnews.gov.za