National Mahangu Forum in Rundu
The annual National Mahangu Consultative Forum was held for producers and millers of mahangu in Rundu last week. This forum is held every year to discuss issues of production, marketing and processing and serves as a platform to evaluate some of the projects that are meant to enhance farming and production methods. Mr Munjanu from Namibia National Farmers Union encouraged farmers to drive the sector, “We as producers are the initial input into the agronomic sector but we must remain involved right up to the end product as well. We must be involved in farmers’ organisations and be involved with policy making also,” he said. Ms Enny Namalambo, National Project Coordinator for the Dry Land Crop Production Programme in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry said her ministry has been supporting farmers with ploughing and weeding services, and the provision of seed and fertilizer. “These seeds are available to farmers, but they must be registered with the Directorate Extension and Engineering Services at the Agriculture Development Centres in their relevant constituencies to qualify, so I urge those who are not yet registered to do so,” she stressed. The Acting National Mahangu Manager at the Agronomic Board, Mr Stephen Iimbili, delivered a progress report on the National Mahangu Marketing Plan 2010 – 2013 which details the grain that has been procured by the Board for strategic food reserves stored in silos. In his welcome address, the Governor of the Okavango Region, Dr Samuel Mbambo said, “Without food production, poverty eradication and economic growth are not possible.” Minister of Agriculture Hon John Mutorwa said “Let me emphasise that government is committed to increase food production and ensure national and household food security.” The event concluded with prizes for the Regional and National Mahangu Champions. Because of crippling drought, the Consultative Forum was used as a platform to recognise producers for their harvest. Regional Champion Awards across the 7 mahangu producing regions in Namibia are a selected from farmers who cultivate between 5ha and 10ha, have the resources to implement improved technologies and techniques and produce and average of between 0.8ton/ha. These producers are all prepared to sell up to 50% of their harvest. Festus Abiatel is the Champion Grower from Oshana while Ivensia Nepembe Hango is the National Grand Champion.