Nkurenkuru-Agriculture, water and forestry minister John Mutorwa is today expected to launch the dry crop food production initiative ‘Operation Katemo’ in Kavango West Region.
The programme is spearheaded by the Kavango West regional governor’s office, which says household food security is of utmost importance, more so for the region consistently ranked by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) as one of the poorest regions in Namibia.
In its resolve to assist farmers in Kavango West, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has introduced a number of interventions geared towards increasing agriculture production at both national and household levels.
To enhance household agricultural productivity, the ministry through the Directorate of Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES) has the Dry-Land Crop Production Programme (DCPP).
This programme will provide subsidised inputs (improved seeds and fertiliser) and services (ploughing, planting and weeding) to farmers up to a maximum of three hectares.
Operation Katemo was conceptualised to complement the implementation of the DCPP to improve the livelihood of residents of Kavango West by increasing the output of subsistence farmers in the region, with the clear purpose of reducing hunger and poverty.
The governor’s office has planned the launch to be held at Bravo Settlement in Mpungu Constituency.
“It’s the beginning of the rainy season. We have started the activity around the communities with constituency councillors and officials from the ministry of agriculture, who are busy identifying those who will need assistance or those that need to participate in the programme,” Kavango West Governor Sirkka Ausiku briefed New Era.
With Operation Katemo, the governor’s office wants to sensitise the community to work hard in their mahangu fields. “We also want stakeholders to get involved. Farmers must be ready as the rainy season is about to start – they must gear up to plough their fields,” Ausiku noted.
The dry land crop production programme is not new – it has been there implemented by the agriculture ministry, while the money to assist farmers on a yearly basis is being transferred to the regional councils from where the programme is implemented through agriculture extension services.
Last year, Kavango East launched a food sustainability campaign named ‘Operation Werengendje’, while Omusati Region also launched a similar programme called ‘Tulongeni.’
“We thought of joining the two regions, which have made their programmes public to rally everybody and advocate for their full implementation so that farmers can produce more,” Ausiku added.