Uvunguvungu Green Scheme Project farm manager, Mavuto Mwanza (second from right) explains to Speaker Katjavivi how Dairy equipment works at the Dairy farm that has not yet started production due to incomplete infrastructure
|Story by George Sanzila
Uvunguvungu/ Ndongalinena - The Kavango east region has vast fertile land which if fully utilised could help boost food security in the country. The challenges that have been standing in the way of full agricultural production is lack of farming implements and other infrastructure needed for a full scale food production.
This was revealed during a meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon.Prof. Peter Katjavivi with stakeholders in the Kavango east region yesterday (23/05/17). Hon. Prof. Katjavivi met the regional leadership and residents of the region before proceeding to visit major agricultural projects in the region as part of his oversight mandate.
Hon. Katjavivi reiterated Parliament’s role and the importance of green schemes in mitigating food shortages in the country. “It is critical that we fully support green schemes as they play a bigger role for our country to be self-reliant and boost food security. We are here to listen to all the challenges as part of our mandate. Through this exercise we would be able to do our part in solving issues hampering the wellbeing of our people”, noted the Speaker.
Uvunguvungu irrigation project which covers over 825 hectares of fertile land of which only 380 is under irrigation is currently providing employment to over 30 permanent workers and 10 small scale farmers that continue to benefit from producing and selling their own produce. Just over 130 kilometres east of Rundu, there is yet another successful green scheme project of Ndongalinena that covers a surface area of 1000 hectares of agricultural land but only uses 700 hectares to produce food. The project has thus far benefited 40 permanent workers and 25 small scale farmers with ambitions for expansion. It produces a variety of agricultural products such as maize, wheat, water melons, pumpkins, vegetables and other crops.
However, both green schemes share similar concerns that have derailed efforts to realise their full potential. These challenges include lack of farming equipment and personnel, limited electricity needed to power farming machinery and lack of storages.
According to the farm manager of the Uvunguvungu Green Scheme Project, Mavuto Mwanza, the project has made plans to expand but lack of financial resources are hampering such efforts.
A dairy component of the farm replete with state of the art infrastructure has remain unutilised since 2012 due to minor additions that have stalled as a result of lack of government financial support.
“We need assistance for completion of the shed nets and green houses to increase our revenue base. We also would like to see our dairy operational increased. We need money to finalise the electrification system, vacuum pump house for the milking pump, milk tanks and other minor additions. Uvunguvungu also does not have silos and a water purification plant”, moaned Mwanza. Similar sentiments were shared by the farm manager of the Ndongalinena irrigation project,Titus Andreas who noted that production is being hampered unless government committs financial resources for additional farming equipment and personnel.