Official Farm Opening:
- President Masisi and his wife, the First Lady of Botswana, opened Selebi Phikwe Citrus farm with an official ground-breaking ceremony on 11 December 2020.
- Due to Covid regulations, this was a small affair of just 50 people, which included the following role players in the project:
- President Masisi and the first lady of Botswana
- SPEDU (facilitates inward investment and economic diversification in the region)
- BITC (Botswana Investment & Trade Center)
- Dr. Bernard Mosimanyana (Chairman Mmadinare Cooperative)
- Department of Agriculture
- WUC (Water Utility Company)
- BPC (Botswana Power Corporation)
- EIA approval was received on the 7th of November, and bush clearing commenced on the 9th of November 2020.
- Fencing material arrived on the 23rd of November 2020.
- All bush clearing around the farm fence is completed – 17 130m.
- The storage yard is cleared, and fencing was completed on the 28th of December 2020.
- The yard is used to store:
- Heavy machinery used for soil preparation
- Main pipeline
- SHARPS material (electrical)
- Irrigation equipment
- Farm fencing is 50% finished (Corners A/D 4 023m and A/B 3 784m).
- We hired security to oversee the site and offices during the night.
- The fencing of the farm is estimated to be completed by 2 March 2021.
- All the tools, small machinery, and fencing material needed in Botswana are already purchased.
- We started with the bush clearing of the main pipeline from WUC on the 9th of November. All 9600m to SPC farm is cleared.
- The main pipeline pipes – 500mm, class 12 and class 9 – are already delivered; we are waiting for the class 6 pipe to be delivered on 26 January 2021.
- DHK Transport was commissioned to offload the pipes for the main pipeline, using a Crane.
- DHK Transport is also hired on occasion to help with concrete and sand deliveries to the farm.
- All orders for the materials needed for the pipeline are completed, and 90% delivered (Flotek – Botswana, Flotek – SA, Seven Star – Mr. Wong and Datha Irrigation – SA).
- The main pipeline to SPC gate will be completed by the 23rd of January 2021, followed by the air valve and our three crossings (Road and rail).
- We are currently busy finishing the structure of the main pumphouse. Fitting of the pumps and laying of pipes will start by end of January 2021.
Orchards and Irrigation
- Bush Clearing: We finished block H & I – 145ha, and are currently busy with block A & B – 140ha; estimated to be completed by 5 February 2021.
- Bulldozer Cat D85 started ripping in block H & I and will move to the ridges by the end of January 2021.
- All orders for irrigation and equipment needed to plant the first orchards in block H and I (148,4ha Grapefruit), as well as the pumphouses, are completed. Deliveries have started and are 90% complete; we need to be finished by 15 February 2020.
- Block H & I – Planting on block H will start 22 February 2021, followed by Block I and then Block A – Lemons (48ha) (4 May 2021).
- We currently have 4 wheel dozers, 4 excavators, and 2 ADT trucks (all hired) on the different sites.
- We bought 4 John Deere tractors from Afgri Botswana, which arrived on 18 November and will be used on the fence and farm to transport materials using the 12 picking trailers we bought.
- We also bought 2 JCB machines from Afgri Botswana to help with the digging of the pipelines, as well as back-filling when the pipeline is completed.
- Our new excavator from Part Sales Botswana is busy on the main pipeline, laying the 500mm pipes from the gate to dam 2.
- Our first supply of diesel has arrived from Kwa Nokeng Oil on 16 November, and we estimate usage of about 20 000lt/month.
- A second diesel tank of 23000lt will be put up on SPC farm by the end of January 2021.
- BPC awarded the tender to Charlton Electrical to put up the mainline from town to SPC Farm. Charlton has just started with the erection of the main electrical poles from Selebi Phikwe town to the farm.
- We will be using Sharps Electrical Botswana for the articulation on the farm. Phase 1 will start on 30 November and will be finished by the end of February 2021.
- The electrical poles on the farm have been erected and connected with cable. Sharps is currently busy with the last stretch of 915m, and they also installed the electricity meter on the farm this week.
- We are currently busy building the switch room for the farm’s electrical supply.
- Ms. Gontse, from the Department of Labour, approved the employee contract on Friday 13 November.
- The first 66 employees that work with fencing, building, and pipeline respectively are contracted, and we will need another 20-30 employees on the farm by the end of February.
- Planned training – First aid, health & safety, tractor operators, firefighting, safety officers, chainsaw operators, Productivity (Section managers), HIV/AIDS mitigation plan, and courses.
- SHE officer appointment and training
- Within the next 18 months to 3 years, we will employ about 250 – 300 people on the farm.