Namibia’s horticulture faces limitations

Namibia’s horticulture faces limitations

OIKANGO – The Oshana Regional Councillor for Ongwediva Constituency, Silverius Thikameni Ekandjo, says horticulture production is not yet fully developed in Namibia.

Ekandjo said this on Monday when opening a two-day training workshop on vegetable production and management for members of the Tukwafela Support Group – a project run by more than 60 people living with HIV-AIDS. He charged that Namibia’s horticulture production was currently on a small-scale basis and the small horticultural farmers produce mainly for own consumption while a smaller part was sold to nearby markets.Ekandjo expressed concern that small farmers find it difficult to penetrate bigger markets because they could not afford transportation.”Few large-scale farmers, however, penetrate the market by sending their fresh produce first to Cape Town and some of these products eventually come back to Namibia via wholesalers,” Ekandjo said.The councillor singled out limited market and marketing infrastructure, lack of horticultural skills and limited incentives for farmers to improve production and quantity for continuous supply as some of the difficulties haunting the Namibian horticultural industry.Because of these problems, Ekandjo said Namibian horticultural producers find it difficult to comply with factors that are important in horticultural marketing such quantity, quality and continuity.According to him, many, if not all farmers in Namibia, are still inexperienced, compared to their counterparts in neighbouring South Africa, who are well-established and have all the know-how in producing and marketing horticulture produce.He cautioned that vegetable growers in Namibia would continue struggling to increase market share and increase their production, unless remote production areas are linked to urban localities where people with purchasing power are.This, according to Ekandjo, should also be supported with synchronised and affordable transportation made available for an individual farmer to hire.Regarding vegetable production, he said, it was a challenging economic venture, characterised by various pests and diseases, as well as high costs of fertilisers and pesticides.”Its goals can only be achieved by courage and determination,” Ekandjo said, adding that his office would do everything in its power to support members of the Tukwafela Support Group so as to make their vegetable project successful.Ekandjo told Nampa that the Tukwafela Vegetable Production Project will serve the constituency as a pilot project and more similar projects will be introduced in the constituency depending on its success.The leader of the group, Hambeleleni Hainghumbi, indicated that all members of her group were determined to make their vegetable production project, which is situated some six kilometres from Ongwediva town at Oikango Village, a success story.Two senior agricultural extension officers, Charlie Mwaetako and Bentjie Shipuata from the regional office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry at Ongwediva, are the facilitators of the training workshop, which ends tomorrow.NampaHe charged that Namibia’s horticulture production was currently on a small-scale basis and the small horticultural farmers produce mainly for own consumption while a smaller part was sold to nearby markets.Ekandjo expressed concern that small farmers find it difficult to penetrate bigger markets because they could not afford transportation.”Few large-scale farmers, however, penetrate the market by sending their fresh produce first to Cape Town and some of these products eventually come back to Namibia via wholesalers,” Ekandjo said.The councillor singled out limited market and marketing infrastructure, lack of horticultural skills and limited incentives for farmers to improve production and quantity for continuous supply as some of the difficulties haunting the Namibian horticultural industry.Because of these problems, Ekandjo said Namibian horticultural producers find it difficult to comply with factors that are important in horticultural marketing such quantity, quality and continuity.According to him, many, if not all farmers in Namibia, are still inexperienced, compared to their counterparts in neighbouring South Africa, who are well-established and have all the know-how in producing and marketing horticulture produce.He cautioned that vegetable growers in Namibia would continue struggling to increase market share and increase their production, unless remote production areas are linked to urban localities where people with purchasing power are.This, according to Ekandjo, should also be supported with synchronised and affordable transportation made available for an individual farmer to hire.Regarding vegetable production, he said, it was a challenging economic venture, characterised by various pests and diseases, as well as high costs of fertilisers and pesticides.”Its goals can only be achieved by courage and determination,” Ekandjo said, adding that his office would do everything in its power to support members of the Tukwafela Support Group so as to make their vegetable project successful.Ekandjo told Nampa that the Tukwafela Vegetable Production Project will serve the constituency as a pilot project and more similar projects will be introduced in the constituency depending on its success.The leader of the group, Hambeleleni Hainghumbi, indicated that all members of her group were determined to make their vegetable production project, which is situated some six kilometres from Ongwediva town at Oikango Village, a success story.Two senior agricultural extension officers, Charlie Mwaetako and Bentjie Shipuata from the regional office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry at Ongwediva, are the facilitators of the training workshop, which ends tomorrow.Nampa

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