Windhoek – Her motto is: “Do what you can with what you have and where you are”, and this is what Elize van Niekerk attributes her success to.
The 2018 Master Agronomist, Elize van Niekerk, became the first woman to receive this accolade since its inception in 1995. The owner of Farm Springvale in the Summerdown area encourages other Namibian farmers around the country to put in extra efforts in managing their farms.
“With the same amount of inputs, every farmer can double their production, hence the theme, ‘There is Hope’,” she says.
The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has annually been awarding this prestigious award to an exceptional maize farmer. The event was hosted in collaboration with Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) under the theme “There is Hope”.
The award is presented to a farmer who is not necessarily evaluated on the size of his/her harvest, but rather on practising an exceptional innovative scientific approach, good risk diversification, good labour relations and community involvement. Van Niekerk started farming four years ago after her husband passed on. She rotates crops under both dry land and irrigation, with 20 hectares of irrigated maize yielding an average 14 tonnes per hectare and 80 hectares of dry land maize yielding an average seven tonnes/ha.
Antoinette Venter, NAB’s manager, White Maize and Wheat, says Van Niekerk’s dedication, courage and smart resources management is indeed commendable and is an inspiration to many.
“The passion and drive Van Niekerk has for agronomy and the implementation of smart farming practices is also clearly demonstrated through neat infrastructure on the farm,” she observes. Apart from the Master Agronomist, the NAB also annually hosts the following awards: Communal Maize Farmer Award, National Mahangu Harvest Festival Awards and Namibian Horticultural Producer Awards.