WINDHOEK – Agra ProVision has kick–started the year with the bi-monthly interactive farmer’s day under the theme Optimised production in Aroab last Friday.
At the event, hosted in partnership with the Aroab Farmers Association (AFA), ideas were actively exchanged on how to engage in farming alternatives to increase production efficiency. In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of AFA, Pieter van Schalkwyk, applauded Agra, and specifically Agra ProVision, for honouring their request to address the producers on issues of concern in southern Namibia. He said the event came at the right time, considering the uncertainty of rainfall that might have a negative impact on their farm production.
Dagmar Honsbein, the General Manager of Agra ProVision introduced the topic of Optimised production to the participants. She began by reminding the producers that the basic principles of farming are the foundation on which farming alternatives and increased production is built. “Ultimately in Namibia, we wish to convert grass or forage to animal products, like meat or pelts to earn money for a good living. Rangeland resources feed livestock for growth and reproduction; the other inputs like licks/feeds, animal health products, infrastructure and labour are part of the management system that aids the acceleration of the attainment of results,” she said. Honsbein further explained a graph that represents a value chain in the farming process, considering all the inputs/direct costs and how they translate into yields and income.
The farmers’ day was addressed by Namibian experts who understand local circumstances and farming conditions. The first lecture of the day titled The effect of climate change on rangeland management, and was presented by Bertus Kruger, Agra ProVision’s Technical Advisor for Rangeland Management. Kruger discussed the carrying capacity of the area in the southern part of Namibia, how it has changed since the 1960s, and what principles a farmer can put into practise for alternative management to augment commercial livestock farming income.
The State Veterinarian for the //Karas Region, Dr Annamie Louwrens gave a presentation on the Common diseases, body condition and other livestock health aspects in southern Namibia. Dr Fonnie Bruwer, Agra ProVision’s Technical Advisor for Animal Health followed with a lecture on Assisted breeding methods – a viable alternative, with a focus on assisted breeding services such as artificial insemination and embryo transfers. Farmers can look forward to be assisted in this regard very soon, as Agra ProVision will soon open a new consultative animal laboratory.
The last topic of discussion was Modern technology for modern farming, presented by Frank Wittneben, Agra ProVision’s Technical Advisor for Livestock Production. His presentation explored and discussed technologically aided farm management through wireless communication, alternative electricity sources and e-smart products for farm planning. “Innovative technology is here to stay and rural areas are in the process of being upgraded to catch up with smart technologies. We need to take note that farming is becoming more and more scientific and therefore, it begins with you as a farmer to take a stand and update yourself,” Wittneben ended his presentation.
Farmers were collectively advised to engage smart technology service providers to make these services available in their area. Agra ProVision offers interactive information sessions every two months to facilitate networking and brainstorming among stakeholders and individuals from various sectors in Government and private industry on topics relevant to the agriculture industry. These interactive information sessions are open to members of the public, and those interested are requested to confirm their attendance in advance.