The olive project launched two years ago in Okombahe in the Daures Constituency of Erongo Region has suffered a major setback due to a lack of water in the area.
The olive project was launched alongside two others, the date project in Otjimbingwe, as well as the vegetable greenhouse at Namapost. Residents at Okombahe told New Era on Wednesday that both projects are experiencing difficulties due to the lingering drought the country is experiencing.
The projects was launched in 2014 by the Erongo Regional Council, in partnership with Namsov Community Trust, as an attempt to reduce poverty through sustainable self-employment projects in Daures Constituency.
Governor of Erongo Region Cleophas Mutjavikua on Wednesday, during the launch of Erongo Red’s rural electrification project, said the scarcity of water remains the biggest stumbling block, not only for the olive project but for the entire region.
“Any cultivation should go hand to hand with water and, therefore, we have surveyed and drilled on the land that was given to us by the !Oe#Gan Traditional Authority. We spent money to drill for water, however we could just not find any water,” Mutjavikua said.
“The committee will now go back to the drawing board to look at other alternatives. Hopefully we will come up with a different modus operandi,” he added.
Earlier this year the governor also appealed to NamWater to explore possible solutions to the water shortage experienced in the region, before it becomes a veritable crisis.
The governor believes that for water to remain affordable it must be supplied by a publicly-owned utility, like Namwater, but also noted that due to the high infrastructure costs public-private partnership arrangements should be considered, particularly in the construction of desalination plants that could augment water supply, especially to areas such as Daures.
Mutjavikua argued that the “over-regulation” of water and energy services presents a developmental challenge for the mineral-rich region.
He believes easing regulatory restrictions on water and energy supply to allow private entities to enter the market would be beneficial for the country and the region, as it would allow the mines to venture into energy and water supply services and thus lessen the burden of service provision on government.