The N$36 million Rundu National Agricultural Technology Centre (NATC) inaugurated early this year will soon start offering agricultural machinery repair services as well as make bolts and nuts for commercial and communal farmers.
The centre that was inaugurated on January 29 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry through its agency, Agricultural Business Development (AGRIBUSDEV), has been busy setting up equipment and other machinery at the centre as well as recruiting staff.
According to AGRIBUSDEV, the centre will open its doors to farmers soon. “Now we are just putting structures in place and we have just appointed the first manager of the Agri-tech Centre. He is also a local from around here. He is Reinhold Nsinano and he started on Monday this week,” said Petrus Uugwanga, the Managing Director of AGRIBUSDEV.
Uugwanga brings a wealth of experience from various companies as an engineer, as he worked as an electronic engineer at Tora Mechatronics and before that he worked as an automation engineer at Namibia Breweries. He also worked at NAMDEB as senior instrumentation technician as well as at Telecom Namibia as engineer in training. He has also worked for City of Windhoek as a technician. He holds a Bachelor of Technology in Electronic Engineering from the Polytechnic of Namibia.
“All is in the picture, all the engineers will be here by Thursday, including the senior engineer,” Uugwanga said.
The facility was built over a period of 19 months, and was completed end of last year. Its founding objective is to set up a comprehensive agricultural machinery and equipment management system in order to support farmers at national green scheme projects as well as subsistence farmers.
During the official opening in January, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said AGRIBUSDEV would be working closely with the ministry’s Directorate of Agriculture Production, Extension and Engineering Services and it will be at the centre and forefront in the co-ordination and supervision of NATC’s activities, functions and services.
The new centre would also be involved in assembling, repairing as well as maintenance of all agricultural machinery and it will also do scientific research and development that can and will lead to the manufacturing and establishment of new and suitable agricultural technologies in Namibia, Mutorwa stressed during the launch.
“There is indeed no doubt that, with this centre in operation, farmers will be more appropriately assisted in terms of their precious time and valuable money that they had to spend in travelling long distances to receive those essential services,” Mutorwa had assured farmers.
Apart from the new facility, a similar centre is currently being constructed at Ongwediva in the Oshana Region and is due for completion by November this year.