ALTHOUGH potatoes are a staple diet in Namibia, the horticulture sector has never been able to supply the country’s demand for the crop.
This is highlighted by the fact that the Namibian Agronomic Board has opened the border for the importation of washed potatoes every month as opposed to other crops whose importation has been restricted in times of plenty.
As a way of boosting potato production in the country, the National Association of Horticulture Producers (Nahop) has launched an initiative to train small-scale farmers in all the regions of the country how to grow potatoes.
“This is a step-by-step practical potato farming training course for beginners,” Nahop noted in a statement.
The training content includes potato seed (tuber) supply and management; land/soil preparations and planting methods; planting of potatoes in open fields in bags; chemical fertilisation and pest control methods.
Also included in the course content is organic fertilisation and pest control methods, as well as the types of irrigation and water applications that can be used.
“Equally important is the inclusion of economics, cash flow and marketing requirements as part of the training programme, because farming is a business and growing potatoes can be a lucrative farming venture,” noted Nahop.
The training programmes will be held in several centres starting with Gobabis in the Omaheke region on 25 January (yesterday). This is followed by a two-day course in Windhoek today and tomorrow before the team goes to Rehoboth on 28 January.
The Nahop team will be at Keetmanshoop on 8 February, before they return to the Hardap region, with a session scheduled for Mariental on 9 February.
On 12 February, the Nahop team will be at Okahandja before heading for Otjiwarongo the following day and then taking the combined Grootfontein/Tsumeb class on 14 February.
“The training session for farmers at Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi region is scheduled for 19 February, with Rundu and Nkurenkuru classes scheduled for 20 and 21 February, respectively,” noted Nahop.
Classes are scheduled for Okongo on 22 February, followed by Oshakati/Ondangwa on 23 February, before the trainers move to Omaruru on 29 February, Usakos on 1 March, ending with the Swakopmund/Walvis Bay session on 2 March.
Those who wish to take part in the training session, should contact their Nahop area representative.
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