The manager of the Etunda Green Scheme in the Omusati region says last year they planted maize on 700 hectares (ha) of land, with an expected harvest of 6 000 tonnes of maize by May and June this year.
Sacky Shilyomunhu told The Namibian that this time around, they have no shortage of equipment or inputs, after the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform put everything in place. “We have started planting and the ministry has given us all the implements,” said Shilyomunhu.
This includes three ploughing tractors and a ripper, he said.
The Etunda Green Scheme was set up just after independence.
Shilyomunhu said the equipment will aid 70 small -scale farmers to produce maize and vegetables, although he added that the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (Amta) has not come on board to buy their vegetables.
Shilyomunhu said the green scheme has left the production of vegetables to small-scale farmers and only concentrated on maize production and milling.When their silos are full, they sell grain to millers around the country, he said. At the moment, Shilyomunhu said the green scheme is also harvesting mangoes.
“We have 70ha of mango trees and people come to our shop to buy in bulk and then go back to sell in their areas at a retail price,” he said.
The Etunda Green Scheme has capacity for planting twice a year and when this is done, it can produce over 10 000 tonnes of maize.
Shilyomunhu said the hydroponic fodder production plant, which was set up a few years ago, is not yet in production due to the non-availability of barley seeds in the country.
“Nobody has planted barley.
We only rely on suppliers and there was nothing in the market,” he said, adding that plans are underway to acquire barley seeds, with the government liaising with Agra.
Barley is a winter crop and is planted in an open field.
Shilyomunhu said they are happy that the government has refurbished dilapidated infrastructure at all government-run green schemes.
The hydroponic fodder production plan at the Etunda Green Scheme was set up at a cost of N$1 million, with the aim to produce animal fodder during periods of drought.
According to Shilyomunhu, one of the biggest challenges facing the Etunda Green Scheme is theft and vandalism of equipment.
He said it seems traditional authorities are not educating local residents about the importance of the green scheme in terms of the country’s food production.
Green schemes in Namibia were set up with the primary objectives to increase agricultural production and promote and diversify agricultural production and products for the domestic and export markets.
Green-scheme projects are large commercial production farms operated and managed in accordance with the models outlined in the Green Scheme Policy. However, some have not lived up to expectations.
In recent years, many green schemes have underperformed due to financial constraints and mismanagement.
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