Best producers show their stuff
The National Horticulture Day was attended by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Hon Petrus Ilonga, Governor of Omusati, Hon Sophia Shaningwa, the Mayor of Outapi, Cllr. Mathew Ndeshitila, and the Deputy Chair of the Namibian Agronomic Board, Ms Sirkka Iileka. Also addressing the gathering were Mr. John Nekwaya, Branch Manager of AgriBank in Oshakati, Mr Christof Brock, CEO of the Namibian Agronomic Board and Mr Michael Iyambo, Chairman of the Namibia Horticulture Task Team.
“To promote small scale producers, we have to change our outlook from them being simple agricultural producers to that of producers being entrepreneurs,” said Mr Temba Pilime, guest speaker at the event and Senior Technical Advisor to the agronomic industry in Zimbabwe.
Ms Sirkka Iileka of the Agronomic Board said, “In the past 7 years, the conducive marketing environment created by the Namibian Market Share Promotion (MSP), has resulted in an increase in Namibian production from 5% of formally traded fresh produce consumption to its current 37.5%.” The MSP refers to the percentage of locally cultivated fresh produce that importers must source locally in addition to their imports.
“It (the MSP) has reduced imports from mainly South Africa from 95% to 67.5%. We are looking forward to producing around 60% of what we eat in terms of fruits and vegetables in future.”
Mr Hansie Opperman, the winning large scale producer of 2012 from Ndonga Linena emphasised the importance of maximising the yield per hectare. He explained the importance of calculating profits and making allowances for crop losses. “If crop management is good, then the project will survive”, said Opperman. A seasoned producer, Opperman reiterated his commitment to farming by saying, “if we all work together, we can make a huge success of farming in Namibia.”
Mr Abner Shikongo, winner of the small scale producers in his presentation said, “Farming requires strong management, discipline and focus.” Vashi Fresh Produce, Shikongo’s winning farm, produces cabbages, onions, butternuts, green peppers, tomatoes and watermelons. In addition to being a successful small scale producer under irrigation, Shikongo is also a mentor to dry-land crop producers in Omusati and Oshana Regions.