SHIGHURU – A group of rice subsistence farmers at Shighuru village, 65 km east of Rundu, recently harvested its first crop of rice at the project.
The project was started last December with expertise availed by the University of Namibia (Unam) that fenced the project for N$500 000.
According to the rice project manager Brendan Matomola, the yield was about four tonnes of rice per hectare before milling and after milling it came to 2.8 tonnes of rice ready for consumption.
“The threshing of the first rice harvest was done at Shighuru village but the milling was done at the Ogongo Unam Campus,” stated Matomola. Last Thursday, the women involved in the project were handed the final product of their first harvested rice to taste the fruit of their labour.
Unam vice chancellor Professor Lazarus Hangula officiated at the event.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to be here once again to engage the community of Shighuru on this very important and joyous occasion of the first harvest of our common effort. The first time I came here was to commission the work of our colleagues from the Faculty of Agriculture and I would like to commend them,” said Hangula at the event.
He further added that their mandate as an institution is to teach, research and to engage in community development. He noted that the university has a motto on service and development.
He elaborated that Unam transfers the knowledge gained in the classroom into practical experience for all Namibians, particularly those in rural areas.
The project was only able to plant 3.3 hectares with the three rice varieties of NERICA 1, 4 and 7.
“We are evaluating these varieties/cultivars in Ogongo and Zambezi so we just took from there and came to do the testing here and from what we have seen, it can perform better. We have already harvested four plots, which we started to plant in the first week of December, then we harvested three weeks back,” stated Matomola.
According to the project manager, this project is just a pilot project but it could also be extended to other villages along the Kavango River once it has been ascertained it is suitable for this purpose.
Furthermore, Matomola told New Era that the advantage of rice is if you cultivate it in the same size area as mahangu you will get more rice than mahangu or maize, but it is easier when you identify an area along the river or stream.