The managing director of the Agricultural Business Development Agency (AgriBusDev), Petrus Uugwanga, is impressed with the work of the Sikondo agricultural project, some 10 km west of Rundu along the Rundu-Nkurenkuru road, which also forms part of the government’s green scheme project.
Uugwanga says he is not only impressed with Sikondo, but with all the other government irrigation schemes. He says the green schemes are making a mark in the fresh produce sector.
“Well, I’m impressed with the work that is going on here. Of course, in any production you will always have a scope of improvement, we can just continue to improve, but I’m quite happy with the level of production at Sikondo and other green schemes,” he said.
Uugwanga spoke to New Era when he recently visited the Sikondo government irrigation scheme. During his field visit he found some farmworkers harvesting potatoes ready for the market.
“We planted 28 hectares of Sifra potatoes, the cultivar is imported from South Africa and we planted it in mid-June and we are harvesting now,” said Sikondo farm manager Rusty Hendrik Kleinhans.
They have already harvested 15 hectares with only 18 hectares remaining to finish the potato harvest.
“The yield is 40 tonnes per hectare. Our market is usually Rundu and the Ongwediva Fresh Produce hub and our produce is also sold in Oshakati, as well as the Windhoek AMTA Hub,” Kleinhans said.
“At the moment with all the other green schemes, we’re actually making a mark in the industry. Everyone now knows that the green schemes are producing. We’ve been able to assist the State in terms of maize production and we’re able to provide the grains that are so far being distributed for the drought relief programme,” Uugwanga remarked.
“In terms of wheat we’re now harvesting and we’ll sell most of it to Bokomo Namibia and we process the rest ourselves for domestic distribution. We’re also busy with planting maize again,” he further said.
Aside from the potatoes the Sikondo green scheme currently produces butternut, cabbage, watermelon, and pumpkin. Sikondo covers 830-hectares and together with the nine medium-scale farmers, have 660 hectares currently under irrigation.
“Yes we have challenges in terms of cost of production, especially with electricity. We’re trying to get around that one, but of course like any other institution around Namibia, given the lowdown of the economy we’re also affected to some extent, but we have a scope to help the country to stabilise the economy,” Uugwanga further said.
“As much as we could now produce at home, instead of importing, this is another intervention that the government needs to stabilise the economy, because when you are producing domestically, as opposed to importing at least you control the price of commodities in a way, because otherwise you will import the inflation.
“So, for now at least we’re able to stabilise the price of fresh produce commodities in the country and also able to create employment as you see at the green schemes,” Uugwanga noted.