Ministry to avail tractors for crop growing regions
In a statement issued by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Joseph Iita, the ministry’s current fleet of about 65 tractors is not sufficient to serve all the constituencies therefore more tractors are needed to equip each constituency with a minimum of 4 tractors and their accompanying implements.
According to Iita, the Ministry has realised that to maintain the current fleet of tractors is a major challenge due to the unavailability of garages specialising in the maintenance and repair of tractors as well as the provision of spare parts. “Currently, most of the tractors and implements in the regions are parked, waiting to be serviced and repaired in preparation of the next cropping season,” Iita stated.
The Ministry is also in the process of constructing Technology Centres in Ongwediva and Rundu where the two fresh produce hubs are located. The centres will manufacture parts, repair and maintain tractors and farm implements, test and adapt agricultural equipment and implements to the local conditions. Research and design methodologies on agricultural technology adaptation will also be conducted at the centres where aspiring farmers and local entrepreneurs will receive training.
Iita said the Ministry has received requests from farmers and private entrepreneurs to make use of the tractors and implements during the off season period but in the absence of the technology centres, the Ministry cannot afford to rent out tractors due to inadequate specialised garages in the regions to service and repair tractors and implements on time for the next cropping season.
“The inability to repair and maintain tractors and implements well on time will delay the operations of the Dry land Crop Production Programme (DCPP) for the subsequent cropping season,” said Iita.
The Dry land Crop production Programme is one of the projects the Ministry currently promotes as part of its mandate to increase food production. The programme supports a majority of households who depend on rain fed crop farming for their livelihoods and is aimed at enhancing knowledge on appropriate farming techniques for the Northern Communal Areas, increase household food security levels and eventually contribute to the reduction of poverty and income inequality.