Keep the veggies clean
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has embarked on a training programme for small scale farmers on both private and communal farms, offering them training in production practices and processes that conform to national and international market requirements.
The farmers will be trained in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to ensure their fresh produce is safe as food for consumers. The training teaches farmers to use only approved pest control products, to handle produce hygienecally to avoid contamination and to follow production practices that are safe for workers and the environment.
According to Joseph Iita, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the training integrates commercial fresh produce farmers in and out of green scheme farms, who work in an integrated way with smallholder farmers.
The training is necessary as these farmers will be directly linked to the fresh produce that will be made available at the newley inaugurated hubs in Rundu and Ongwediva.
Iita said so far the programe has trained 120 farmers in the northern and southern parts of the country on global good agricultural practices. These farmers were chosen for their capacity to train other farmers in their groups on skills that they have learnt. Iita added that the training will culminate in certification on Global Good Agricultural Practices.
The programme is also involved in training the ministry’s extension staff on implementation of the Food Safety Policy, which includes the inspection procedures for Good Agricultural Practice standards at production sites.
The programme ends in October 2014, at which point all fresh produce farmers in the country are hoped to have received training on practical production skills and international best practices to grow fresh produce according to international standards.