Unique oils project will give poor people a lift
Poor people in the Sekororo area, east of Tzaneen in Limpopo, will benefit from the first plantation of essential oil-bearing plants at the La Boheme farm at Calais village near Trichardtsdal.
The plants are by-products of a primary industry, the first of which was grown on a two-hectare farm rented from the Calais Property Association.
This is the second project of this nature in the province.
The first was established in GaMolepo village outside Polokwane.
The study is being conducted by Ian Daniels and Associates, the local economic development department, the Limpopo departments of agriculture and of local government and housing.
A feasibility study began after R800000 from the European Union (EU) was allocated to the provincial department of local government and housing.
The project is being carried out to establish whether the plants can survive the climatic conditions in the area.
Dr Johan Swart of Ian Daniels and Associates said the aim of the feasibility study was to screen the plants on small plots, evaluate trial rows, small-scale experimental plantings, mini commercialisation and full-scale commercialisation.
"We would like to see the project succeeding after the completion of the feasibility study in February next year," said Swart.
"We have a plan to make the project work and contribute to the economic development of the province."
Six people had been employed full-time and receive a monthly salary.
Swart said they had started with 10 oil-bearing plants, including matricana chamomile, ocimum basilicum, coriundrum, pelargorium and rosmarinus erycalyx.
The oil from the plants would be used to for food production and fragrances for perfumes.
The harvest will begin in November and production will be distilled and packaged and exported to France, where they will be tested to determine its market.
Salome Malesa, an employee at the farm and a single mother of two, said that since she began working on the farm she was able to support her family.