Unemployed trained at Berg Aukas Centre
About 300 unemployed young persons are currently receiving training in the areas of fashion design, agriculture, technology, carpentry as well as physical and health training at the Berg Aukas training and research centre situated near Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa region.
The training centre, which was inaugurated in December 2011 has 16 local qualified trainers in the different fields. To bolster the local teaching capacity, recently it welcomed 20 Nigerian experts who volunteered to train the youth in fields of horticulture, animal husbandry and agronomy.
“The youth are not only taught how to grow plants but are also provided with skills should they wish to start their own garden,” says Victor Eyo, a Nigerian agronomist based at the centre. According to Eyo, support is given to young people who have already started their own gardens at their homes.
Eyo describes the vegetables grown at the centre as unique as they tend to appear larger than the average type of vegetables found in the country. He says the seeds originate from Nigeria and are purely organic.”The fertilizers used to grow the plants include a mixture of animal dung, poultry waste and soil,” he said, adding that old plants are also used as compost to complement the fertilizer.
Various types of vegetables grown at the centre include ground nuts, sorghum and soya beans as well as brown beans. One of the seeds grown at the centre, cow peas, has been planted on a trial basis. According to Eyo, they will be ready for harvest in two months. The vegetables grown at the centre are sold to the local communities and the surrounding towns such as Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Rundu and Otavi.
The biggest cultivated plot at the centre is under maize. This covers 30 hectares of land. Eyo explained that more than 40 bags of maize were sold at the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair and more purchases were made during the Windhoek Show. Plans are in the pipelines to plant 150 hectares of maize at the end of 2012.
Classes at the centre also include upholstery where trainees are taught how to make furniture such as beds, chairs and tables. Many students have asked to be taught the skill of tailoring to be able to make their own clothers. As a result, sewing and tailoring are now two of the official courses.
Besides attending classes, trainees are also taken on tours and shown around the different farms in the community to learn other ways of growing plants and farming animals.