Iyambo impressed by progress of green schemes

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Maggy Thomas
Rundu

Vice-President (VP) Dr Nickey Iyambo described his six-day familiarisation visit to the Kavango West and East regions as a resounding success.

Iyambo, accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa and Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Tommy Nambahu, undertook the visit to acquaint himself with issues such as human-wildlife conflict, army worms decimating crops, and unemployment. He was impressed with what he had seen, saying he was under the impression that the army worms have done a lot of damage to irrigation schemes and elephants had finished all the crops.

“Yes, they have done some damages, but there is prospect for us that we are still to get a good harvest,” Iyambo told Nampa before he left for Windhoek on Tuesday afternoon at the end of his visit.

The VP is confident that if government establishes 27,000 hectares of green schemes under irrigation, Namibia’s will be self-reliant in terms of food supply by 2030. About 12,000 hectares of green schemes are currently under irrigation. “Of course, we should be mindful of natural occurrences, such as prolonged droughts and floods, as well as army worms which try to waste our development efforts.”

Iyambo said he instructed Mutorwa to do an assessment on how much the country will be able to harvest this year from the two Kavango regions. The evaluation will also give insight into the magnitude of crops’ and grains’ shortages, and how much government should import to feed the country.

He commended the green scheme managers and small-scale farmers for producing food, despite the challenges. One main challenge is water-logging due to the high rainfall received thus far, which forced replanting on some fields, while other fields’ soil was too wet for replanting. Other challenges include cash flow constraints that resulted in late planting; and human-wildlife conflict.

On the meetings with local communities, Iyambo said all went according to plan. Young people, women, farmers, people with disabilities and church leaders came together and discussed issues peacefully. “We interrogated issues guided by the fact that we as Namibians are equal partners and investors in the shared destiny of an inclusive and prosperous Namibian house,” he said.

Iyambo assured the community that government would continue to distribute drought relief food to affected people and will continue rescuing people trapped by floods and to relocate them. He also visited traditional authority leaders as part of his itinerary. – Nampa

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