We recently conducted the first volunteer day of 2020, where about 30 volunteers from our member organisations, students from Waterford KaMhlaba, and other concerned citizens came to lend a hand at the Agroecology Training and Demonstration Centre/Mbabane Urban Garden.
The purpose of the event was to clean up the property that had been littered with plastic bags, logs, and even loose rocks and stones. This process would help clear the property enough for construction on the Training Area which will also serve as the venue for the monthly Farmers Market for Mbabane. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who were willing to dedicate their time and effort to support the project and this was an indication that the capital city is indeed ready for such an innovative project.
One of the important achievements of the day, was that as the volunteers carried out their tasks, they received knowledge on agroecological methods of vegetable production which included weeding, mulching, organic pest, and weed management as well as compost making.
A section of the volunteers joined the Ekuphileni Wellness Centre staff members in establishing a nursery which will be used to propagate, vegetable seedlings, medicinal herbs as well as propagating endangered medicinal trees for the Swaziland Homeopathy Project.
More composting bays were put into place and this will help ensure that the Urban Garden has a steady supply of organic fertiliser and compost for improving soil health. This is a more ecological method of improving soil fertility without the use of toxic chemical fertilisers.
We are very grateful for the support that the Mbabane community has shown to the project which, once completed, will benefit Eswatini as a whole through extensive training workshops that will be organised to spread knowledge and practical skills of ecological land use management practices.
This was definitely a positive step toward promoting agroecology which leads to the sustainable livelihoods of Emaswati. Once the centre is completely established, it will provide Mbabane residents with a yearlong supply of fresh organic produce and be a centre for hosting the monthly farmers market.