Agronomic board reaches out to schools for awards

BUMPER CROP … Pupils at Onampira Combined School harvest tomatoes from the school garden after recording a bumper harvest a few years ago. NAB is encouraging all schools with vegetable gardens to register for this year’s horticultural awards.

The Namibian Agronomic Board (Nab) will hold its annual National Agronomy and Horticulture Awards at Olushandja in the Omusati region on 19 September.

According to a statement from the board, the event is aimed at recognising and awarding producers, processors, traders, service providers and schools that have contributed significantly to the development and growth of Namibia’s agronomy and horticulture industry.

Last year’s awards event, which had 43 winning entries, was held at the Mashare Irrigation Project in the Kavango East region.

AvaGro, a leading coastal-based agricultural entity that works with smallholder farmers, agripreneurs and larger-scale cultivators, was the biggest winner, scooping both the master crop value chain actor of the year and the horticulture innovator of the year awards.

According to Nab spokesperson Emily Abraham, about 300 guests are expected at this year’s event.

She says as a way of encouraging participation in agricultural activities among the youth, Nab is inviting schools that have active gardens to enter the competition.

“The idea is to encourage the ‘one school, one garden’ concept to supplement the school feeding programme that helps reduce the dropout rate. The garden helps in practical teaching and learning, and helps to groom future farmers,” she says.

“We call on all schools that have active gardens to submit an entry form and participate in the competition for the best school garden of the year.

“The competition aims to identify schools that have extended teaching and learning beyond classroom settings by expanding it outside, through gardening,” Abraham says.

As part of the criteria, the school should demonstrate how the garden helps practical teaching and learning for agriculture subjects.

“Selected agriculture pupils will be interviewed,” she says, adding that the school must act as an exemplar to other school gardens.

“The school must have a clear sustainability plan for the school garden,” Abraham explains.

Once applications have been received from schools, Nab will establish a team of five experts to assess all the qualifying school gardens that meet the eligibility criteria.

The winning school will be announced at the award ceremony and will walk away with N$30 000 to be used for maintaining its garden.

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