Otjinene Farmers Receive Basics in Farming Principles

A large group of farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector gathered at the Agra ProVision farmers’ information day in Otjinene, to learn about the basic principles of farming last Thursday.

The event was addressed by Namibian experts who understand the local conditions and environment. In her introductory remarks, Dagmar Honsbein, General Manager of Agra ProVision, applauded the community for coming out to learn about the basic principles which are mostly forgotten. “The event aims at ensuring that you’re reminded on how to improve on your productivity in a sustainable manner. Agra, as a responsible corporate citizen, will remain committed to develop and improve the agriculture sector. Farmers’ days form part of Agra’s social responsibility programme and this also goes hand in hand with ProVision’s role to reach out and empower stakeholders in the Agricultural Industry,” she said.

Honsbein continued urging women to join in agriculture production to assist in ensuring food security for fellow Namibians. The event was hosted as a collaboration between Agra, Feedmaster, Norbrook and the Otjinene office of the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry – Directorate of Engineering and Extension Services (DEES). Presentations focused on: Rangeland Management, Animal Nutrition, Animal Health and Maintenance of Infrastructure. Rangeland Management was introduced to the participants by Erastus Ngaruka, a Junior Technical Aisor of Livestock Production. He began by answering the question why Namibian rangelands are under pressure. He emphasised that all livelihoods depend on rangeland resources as livestock derive most of their nutritional needs cheaply from the rangeland and humans derive basic foods from the rangeland. Ngaruka stressed how farmers are supposed to sustain their rangeland and the consequences of poor rangeland management. He concluded by saying that “the aim is to achieve sustainable production for both rangeland, livestock and sustained livelihoods”.

Frank Kanguatjivi from Feedmaster lectured on animal nutrition informing the participants about the importance of phosphate especially in sandy rangelands of Namibia, as one of the most important minerals in animal nutrition.

Dr Fonnie Bruwer, Agra ProVision’s Technical Aisor for Animal Health gave a lecture on basic animal health for livestock, with a focus on vaccination. He aised participants on the importance of vaccination, especially against important diseases such as Anthrax, Botulism, Black Quarter, Lumpy Skin Disease, Brucella (Contagious abortion), Bovine virus diarrhea (BVD), Rabies and Vibriosis. His presentation was complemented by the State Vet for Omaheke region, Dr Bernie Chiwome, who focussed on the common diseases occurring in the region.

Frank Wittneben, Agra ProVision’s Technical Aisor for Livestock Production, concluded with a presentation on the basic maintenance of infrastructure. The looked at the maintenance of water supply, water points, water pumps, pipelines, water catchment structures, fences, kraals and home-made droppers and poles. “When obtaining a functional farm it is of utmost importance to perform regular maintenance on the whole infrastructure,” he cautioned.

The event ended with some lucky participants walking away with great prizes. The participants appreciated Agra’s initiative for empowering them by sharing relevant information. They found the presentations enlightening and many of them are motivated to go back to the drawing board and plan accordingly. Furthermore, they requested Agra’s ongoing support to enable them to turn their farms into sustainable businesses. Agra ProVision offers interactive information sessions countrywide every two months to facilitate networking and brainstorming among individuals from various sectors in government and the private sector on topics relevant to the agriculture industry. These interactive information sessions are open to members of the public, and those interested are requested to confirm their attendance in aance.

Source : New Era