Big ‘bread’ for the basket

Cathrine Moemedi
TALENT: The wonderful weavers of Shorobe

P1.7 million boost for Shorobe Basket weavers

Shorobe Basketry Multipurpose Cooperative Society has secured financing worth P1, 769, 382 from the National Environmental Fund to undertake their agro forestry scheme, titled, ‘A Smart Agro Forestry project on sustainable use of Mokolwane Tree.’

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Located some 30km north of Maun and currently standing at 30 members, Shorobe Baskets was founded in 1995 and fully registered in 2010.

Over the years, the Cooperative has sustained itself through the sale of baskets, expertly weaved together from the bark of the Mokolwane tree.

Speaking at the project launch recently, Shorobe Chairman, Boipuso Nyoke, explained the initiative seeks to preserve Mokolwane, Mokgwapha, Mothakola, Lethajwa and Motsentsela tress as well as other plants used in the production of their baskets.

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“We have a farm where we planted Mokolwane trees. However, all our plants were destroyed by the elephants since the farm was not properly fenced. We want to grow these plants to preserve them for our future generations and sell them to whoever wants to buy,” highlighted Nyoke.

In addition to fencing, Nyoke revealed they intend to construct a warehouse with ablutions, drill a borehole and plant a vegetable garden which will complement their basket business.

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“We saw how Covid-19 crippled our business therefore the vegetable garden will help us stay afloat in case of a crisis,” he said.

Meanwhile, Principal Natural Resource Officer in the Department of Environmental Affairs, Gloria Keipeile noted the project is very important to their department as it promotes sustainable use of natural resources.

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“Upon its successful execution, the Mokolwane project will help us achieve our mandate of protecting the environment,” stated Keipeile.

For his part, area councillor, Oabile Chombo urged members of the Co-op to successfully complete the project as it has the potential to transform their lives as well as the lives of Shorobe residents.

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Since its inception in 2010, National Environmental Fund has financed a total of 63 projects. The funding is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of No Poverty, which strives to ensure everyone, particularly the poor and vulnerable, has equal rights to economic resources as well as access to basic services, ownership and control of land and other forms of property, natural resources and financial services.

Big 'bread' for the basket
BASKET HUNTING: Prospective customers touring the shop
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