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Dry Land Champion Maize Farmer Crowned

Front (left to right): Third prize winner Joseph Mukupi; Caprivi Dry Land Champion Maize Farmer, Fidelis Mubuchile and second prize winner, John Musilizo. Back (left to right): Hannes Grobbelaar, member of the Namibian Agronomic Board and evaluation team member; Christof Brock, CEO of the Namibian Agronomic Board ; Pastor Matthias Semi, member of the Namibian Agronomic Board and evaluation team member ;Cllr Cletius Sipapeke, Regional Governor: Linyanti Constituency; Matthew Mushabati: CAEO, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Directorate Extension and Engineering Services and Antoinette Venter, Administrative Manager of the Namibian Agronomic Board and part of the evaluation team.

Front (left to right): Third prize winner Joseph Mukupi; Caprivi Dry Land Champion Maize Farmer, Fidelis Mubuchile and second prize winner, John Musilizo. Back (left to right): Hannes Grobbelaar, member of the Namibian Agronomic Board and evaluation team member; Christof Brock, CEO of the Namibian Agronomic Board ; Pastor Matthias Semi, member of the Namibian Agronomic Board and evaluation team member ;Cllr Cletius Sipapeke, Regional Governor: Linyanti Constituency; Matthew Mushabati: CAEO, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Directorate Extension and Engineering Services and Antoinette Venter, Administrative Manager of the Namibian Agronomic Board and part of the evaluation team.

The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) recently awarded its top dry land maize producers in the Caprivi during the Likwama Congress held on 21 September 2012.
Fidelis Mubuchili from Linyanti Constituency was chosen as this year’s Caprivi Dry Land Champion Maize Farmer. He was the third prize winner during the dry land maize awards in 2010. During his acceptance speech, Mubuchili acknowledged that traditional approaches to farming maize are very different to modern techniques.
He said that since adopting new methods and taking advice from, amongst others, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Agronomist Producers Association, he stands as a proud example of what can be achieved.
The second prize went to John Musilizo from Masokotwani Constituency and third prize winner was Joseph Mukupi from Liselo Constituency.
The awards give recognition to dry land maize farmers who achieved maximum harvest potential of their crops. “The top achievers this year are the ones who have implemented learnings to modernise their approach to farming, such as selecting superior seeds, planting in straight rows and practicing effective weed management,” says Antoinette Venter, Administrative Manager at the NAB. “The overall result of their success is the contribution of a substantial surplus of their crops to the formal market,” she adds.
This contribution to the formal market is important for food security in Namibia and for promoting self sufficiency. It also bridges the gap between communal producers and commercial maize farmers. “The criteria for the Caprivi Dry Land Maize Champion Award are quite intricate,” says Christof Brock, CEO of the NAB, “it’s not just the yield of a crop that is taken into account but most importantly, whether the producer has embraced the broader concept of farming commercially.”
Dry land maize is heavily dependent on favourable weather in addition to improved farming techniques for a successful harvest of high yield. The only other areas where dry land crops are planted are the Maize Triangle; the area between Grootfontein, Otavi and Tsumeb, and in the Summerdown and Hochfeld areas. The rest of the maize crops in Namibia are planted under irrigation.
Dry land maize farmers in the Caprivi who qualify for recognition go through a selection process. Farmers who meet the criteria are visited by an impartial team of evaluators where their farming techniques and yield are inspected.
“This year’s evaluation went very well and we saw maize of the highest quality and farming to the highest standard when doing our inspections”, says Antoinette Venter who represented the NAB Secretariat as an evaluator.
The Champion Maize Farmer Award alternates every year between a winning dry land farmer and an irrigation farmer. 

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