Unam plans to expand rice production at Ogongo

The University of Namibia’s (Unam) Ogongo Campus plans to expand its rice production by 10 hectares next year.

The university plans on debushing 10 hectares every year, for the next four years.

This was confirmed by the Japanese embassy second secretary, Yamada Takehiro, whose country is helping implement the project.

Unam held its second annual rice harvest at the campus on Tuesday.The campus, run by Unam’s faculties of agriculture, engineering and natural sciences and situated 55 kilometres from Oshakati in the Omusati region, is targeting to harvest between 15 to 17 tonnes of rice from seven hectares this year.

The project is spearheaded by Pamwenafye Nanhapo, a plant scientist and lecturer at the Ogongo campus.

Nanhapo is one of the students who benefited from a Japanese scholarship programme for research students at Japanese universities.

In a speech read by Takehiro, Japanese ambassador to Namibia Hisao Nishimaki said the Japan-Namibia rice and mahangu project begun as a five-year research project titled ‘Flood and Drought Adaptive Cropping Systems to Conserve Water Environment in Semi-arid Regions’ and was launched at the Ogongo Campus in 2012.

WELCOME BACK … Japanese ambassador to Namibia Nishimaki Hisao hosts Namibian students who returned from their studies at Japanese institutions last month. Photo: Matthew Dlamini

The total Japanese grant under the Satreps programme was more than N$62 million.

The ambassador said the project has attracted many small-scale farmers and agricultural enthusiasts from across the regions over the years.

“In addition, Kinki University, Fukushima University and others have visited Namibia under a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research and are continuing to conduct academic research while providing guidance on rice cultivation projects,” he said.

According to Hisao, the government of Japan has also started funding trilateral cooperation projects in support of the Namibian government’s efforts since 2013.

During this period, 24 projects have been funded and implemented successfully by various United Nations agencies at a total cost of over N$320 million, excluding the two projects launched earlier this year.

This year’s two new projects are funded through the Japan supplementary budget.

The funding is about N$9,3 million for a period of 12 months.

The second project is in agriculture.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, is implementing the project which covers the Kavango East, Kavango West and Ohangwena regions.

The funding is about N$14,2 million for a period of 12 months.

– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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