A Q&A review of the Mentorship Programme of the Meat Board of Namibia has established that the knowledge and skills transferred from mentors to farmers were not confined to programme participants only.
It has spread to many more cattle-owners. Out of the 242 farmers interviewed during the evaluation exercise, 231 (95.5%) responded. On average each participant disseminated the technical know-how acquired to 13 non-participating farmers – thus the know-how diffused to an estimated 11 155 cattle owners over the three-year evaluation period.
The consultants compiled data from around 81 participants in the Kunene and Zambezi regions, concluding that on average each individual participant invested N$25 192 during 2012 and 2013 towards improving their livestock herds.
Another dataset compiled for 2012 by two mentors from Kavango East and Kavango West on ten lease-holding participants shows that the farmers, on average, marketed 60 head of cattle for an average combined sales value of N$256 110.
Nearly the whole amount was invested in farm infrastructure – fencing, drilling and installing of water infrastructures and setting up sustainable systems of grazing management.
The mentorship programme’s acceptance by participants has proved to be exceptionally high. Through mentors’ commitment and hard work, the programme has established a very strong relationship with participants. This emanated from the trust and mutual respect that developed between mentors and their respective participants.
To assess the relationship between mentors (from the mentorship programme) and participants, 242 sampled participants were asked (i) whether or not farmers would speak positively about the programme; (ii) whether or not mentees would encourage other farmers to participate in the programme, and (iii) whether or not mentees would like to continue to take part in the programme. The responses were 98% positive on the first question and 99.2% on the latter two.
The Meat Board of Namibia is in the process of establishing strong cooperation with the Directorate of Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES). By engaging extension services, success has been achieved that should be replicated.
DAPEES has 121 technical staff in the Northern Communal Areas. This progress has been achieved with an annual budget of only N$4.2 million to DAPEES.