Farmers in the Hardap region have expressed thankfulness for the efforts of the China Henan International Cooperation Group to provide fencing material along the Gibeon-Tses road, which is currently being expanded, but feel the company can do more.
China Henan International Cooperation, a Chinese state-owned construction company, was awarded a N$530 million contract to expand the Gibeon-Tses road along the B1 national road. The contract is to provide double lanes and greater safety for the commercial road.
The fencing was provided alongside the 110km stretch, to farmers in the vicinity to divide among themselves, as well as wooden and iron polls, as part of the company’s commitment to erect new fencing after the road expansion is completed.
Jean Kennedy, a farmer at Hobiegarten, 67km from Mariental, said fencing in general is a challenge.
“For many farmers, erecting fencing for the camps on their land is a big challenge. At times, because the fences run kilometres into the veld, you are not aware when it gets damaged and animals end up running into other people’s camps, which causes conflict. And because it is kilometres that you have to fence, it is costly as well, particularly at a time of drought when we have lost up to 300 sheep and goats,” said Kennedy.
However, Kennedy said the company could have assisted farmers with the cleaning of earth dams in the vicinity.
“That would have helped the farmers a lot because the drought is not really over and the animals would have benefited from the water and for the perennial rains, we would have storage places for rain water,” said Kennedy.
Farmer Kallie Visagie from Pos Sukses said the best the company could have done would have been to invest in solar-energy for the farmers along the road.
“Most of the farmers in this vicinity do not have electricity. Without electricity, you also know that you can’t secure water provision for farming and the vegetation we have. So if we could have gotten solar-powered water pumps, it would have helped,” said Visagie.
China Henan International Cooperation Group project manager Zhang Hongbo said the company has so far employed 300 Namibians, mostly from Tses, Gibeon and Gochas, who are working on the rehabilitation of the road.
He was speaking during the official opening of the annual Tses Spring Festival last Saturday.
Hongbo said the company also committed to providing 20% of the N$530 million contract amount, N$120 million, to benefit local contractors and small and medium enterprises.
“We will continue to invest in social and economic activities in the country to foster friendship among Chinese and Namibian citizens,” said Hongbo.
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