Villagers diversify into gardening

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Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro

Windhoek-The remote village of Hugus in the hinterland of the Aminuis Constituency in the Omaheke Region, usually a sleepy and unnoticeable rural backyard, has lately been a beehive of activity.

Usually confined to animal husbandry, villagers are now diversifying into crop production. These days the village has been hustle and bustle in clearing 20 hectares of land in preparation for a community garden.

This is an initiative of the Aminuis Development Foundation (ADF), a developmental non-governmental organisation (NGO). Its driving force, Theo Ngaujake, hopes once up and running, the garden will address food insecurity and poor nutrition of households in the village, and in Aminuis main, thus responding to severe poverty challenges akin to it, the constituency and the village at large.

“The idea is to make it a commercial venture directly benefiting community, operating on pure business principles with the profit shared and distributed among communities members willing to participate,” Ngaujake envisions.

Once successful, plans to replicate the same success all over the Aminuis Constituency and beyond in the Omaheke region where the soil conditions and water resources are ideal for gardening. Crop production new to the village as it may be, the project envisages relying on experts from within Namibia and abroad to take them through the necessary ropes of crop production.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF)’s extension officers are also expected to do the necessary mentoring of those to be working on the garden in this regard. Close to 30 individuals have been identified each getting a plot to work on.

Hefty financial infusions have started trickling in from local business partners, such as Erongo Marine Resources. The project is being implemented in collaboration with the Centre for Resource and Transformation in views of its ideas and experiences having been involved with similar projects throughout the country.

Ngaujake sees the project as a win-win for Hugus and the country, especially in terms of complementing government efforts to uplift rural communities.

In the long run they envisage an integrated project incorporating diversified agricultural projects, including aquaculture. Aminuis Constituency not a typical success story regarding freshwater fishing, with the project in the village of Okombepera today a white elephant, but Ngaujake believes in trying.

“This is associated with what they have been brought up with, no fish-eating culture, and they do not even know that they can sell and get income from fish. This is a general attitude of people which is due to lack of training,” he says, determined not to let the Okombepera experience stand in the way of the new project.
The groundbreaking has been scheduled for Thursday to be officiated by a senior minister and attended by donors, mostly local business people.

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