Lively discussions about how to best start the cultivation of vegetables and herbs in Namibian conditions by choosing different right plants were some of the highlights last Saturday when 22 participants attended a starter course here. The course was hosted by one of the most qualified and experienced conservation agriculturists in the country, Fabian von Hase. Attendants flocked from all over the country as far as Oshakati, Otjiwarongo and Okahandja and Windhoek. The course was marked by a great mix of home gardeners,
farmers and people wanting to start their own horticultural productions.
Specific questions pertained to choosing the right plants for the central north (Ongwediva/Oshakati) and it was recommended that the best would be to plant carrots, onions and potatoes because of the sandy soil there.
Participants got the opportunity to sow vegetables (leeks, rocket and beans) and to propagate medicinal plants such as Bulbine frutescens (burn jelly plant), Symphytum officinale (comphrey) and Sour Fig (carpobrotus edulis). The next course will be held o August 06.
One course participant, Jani Schneider said: “This was a very valuable course, inspiring me to really get going with my garden in order to reach my long-standing dream of growing my own healthy food! Thank you Fabian for this professional and knowledgeable course. I am looking forward to the next one!”
The course was part of a series of four courses on organic gardening and forms a base for future courses on permaculture. These courses have been designed in response to a recent Training Needs Assessment Workshop held by the Namibia Organic Association (NOA) with the support of the Namibia Permaculture Community Association (NPCA).
Von Hase says the aim is to help home gardeners (mostly urban) grow their own food in an organic way while using less water. That way they can lower their water consumption, improve food security and buffer against increasing food prices. The young entrepreneur completed a Permaculture Design Course last year in Okahandja, and has achieved his Master of Science in Agroecology. His thesis with the Swedish University of Agriculture was how to facilitate an uptake of Conservation Agriculture (CA) among communal farmers in Namibia, In 2010 he was awarded his Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Botany, from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and in a 2009, Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Geographical Science and Zoology from the same latter university.
The Agricultural Training Centre Krumhuk (ATCK) is Namibia’s first training centre in agricultural production and farm household management that engages all faculties of young people so that they may master the challenges of practical farming and household management. It was established in response to the growing demand from the agricultural sector for young, passionate and self-motivated Namibians, who are trained and well equipped for living and working on the land. The ACTK is the only agricultural institution in Namibia geared to offer vocational training (academic and practical) in various aspects of sustainable agriculture and farm household management that is both appropriate and relevant to the Namibian agricultural environment.
If anyone wants to support the programmes, the bank accounts are: Namibia: Agricultural Training Centre – Bank Windhoek – Kudu Branch – Acc. No. 8001878961 – Branch Code 482 172 Germany: www.nawa-youth.de Kontonr: 4047559600 BLZ: 430 609 67 GLS Gemeinschaftsbank