RUNDU – Kavango East Regional Governor Dr Samuel Mbambo during his State of the Region Address on Tuesday said during the year under review (2017/18) the regional food production initiative ‘Operation Werengendje’ had several planned activities that yielded tangible results.
Operation Werengendje is an initiative by the governor aimed at assisting and inspiring Kavango East residents to produce food even in their backyards on a small-scale and later on a large scale.
“It is imperative that I report on the regional initiative – Operation Werengendje. This program was initiated with the aim of addressing hunger and poverty within the framework of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) pillar three called ‘Social Progression,” the governor said.
According to Mbambo, given the regional resource endowment, Kavango East enjoys a competitive and comparative advantage with regards to rainfall, fertile soil, and water resources.
He noted 2017/2018 bears testament to the amount of rainfall the region received, which is between 400-600 mm.
“The region took advantage of the abundance of rainfall and fertile soil to introduce this food producing program called ‘Operation Werengendje’. During the 2017/18 financial year there was commendable progress of – Operation Werengendje and it requires enumerating,” he said.
“Under Operation Werengendje a total of 1 750 hectares were ploughed, 338 tonnes harvested, and 610 farmers benefited. In addition, the Governor’s office budgeted N$600 000 that was equally divided and allocated to each of the six constituencies,” he added.
Amongst the successes of ‘Operation Werengendje’ was the planned activities that yielded tangible outcomes such as the mobilisation of the community and relevant stakeholders, the assessment of farmers per constituency that required ploughing services and weeding assistance.
“This exercise benefitted 304 farmers for ploughing and 306 farmers for weeding services,” he noted. The operation also managed to do market mobilisation and made provision of transport to farmers to participate in the Food Expo held last year in Rundu, along with the funding of stands for exhibitors. The operation also mobilised farmers to sell their surplus bags of millet that amounted to 6 296 bags to AMTA and generated over N$1.7 million for the beneficiary farmers.
He further revealed that apart from benefits accrued from the selling of the products to AMTA, and milling the produce, 46 local exhibitors from Kavango East participated in the Food Expo by exhibiting their produce.
“Other categories among the Kavango East exhibitors were 18 farmers, 13 service providers, and 24 small traders. In addition, some farmers donated 20 bags of Mahangu weight 50kg each to the Office of the Governor to support the needy members in the community in all six constituencies,” he said.
In order to further enhance Operation Werengendje, last year the Office of the Governor initiated a visit to Mashonaland West – Zimbabwe. “The delegation consisted of famers, youth, business people, and government officials. The aim of the visit was to learn from best practice and establish collaboration in the area of food production,” he stated.