Farmers Learn New Tricks

Partnership agencies under the Emergency Appeal Budget funded agricultural training on crop production for ‘lead farmers’ in the Kunene, for them to assist other farmers in the region.

The weeklong training course that cost N$34 200 was intended to train trainers of trainers (TOTs) who will train other farmers. It was facilitated by senior technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.

“The reason for this training is for farmers to become trainers of trainers for other members in their communities,” elaborated Salmi Shikongo, the disaster management officer of the Kunene Red Cross Society.

The training was prompted by the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) Household Economic Security Assessment of 2013 that proposed the NRCS help affected communities in Kunene Region.

Shikongo noted the Kunene faces a second consecutive year of drought, highlighting livestock pasture and water as challenges.

“The effect of the drought on livestock pasture and water availability is more severe in Kunene than in other regions and crop production has been severely reduced,” revealed Shikongo.

Given the drought in Kunene, the NRCS set up an intervention programme to assist drought-affected farmers for eight months from October 2013 to June 2014. One thousand households from the Kunene have benefited from the intervention programme and have thus far received maize seeds.

Moreover, 21 identified trained farmers also benefited from the programme and they also received implements worth N$73 577.

Twenty-six farmers received training in conservation agriculture and usage of drought-tolerant, early maturing crop varieties, post-harvest storage and handling and introduction to livestock and rangeland management.

The NRCS also conducted did an assessment of garden needs in March this year. Based on the findings of the garden needs assessment, the Kunene Red Cross Society identified the farmers’ needs to be trained in basic gardening to supplement their diet.

Nineteen lead farmers have benefited from the training. In June, the lead farmers are expected to train other farmers, followed by rangeland management training in three months.

Source : New Era