Ueitele lauds Omaheke farmers for crop production initiatives

GOBABIS: Omaheke Regional Governor Festus Ueitele says efforts by farmers of the Omaheke Region to venture into crop farming are commendable.

The Omaheke governor made the remarks on Thursday when he officiated at a crop farmer’s day in the village of Otjijarua in the Epukiro constituency, saying such efforts mean the region will produce its own food and cease its reliance on imports of foodstuff.

Ueitele said the venturing of Omaheke farmers into crop production spells a good future for the region, as items produced from such farming activities will come in handy when drought hits the region during the dry months of the year.

According to the governor, the Omaheke Region has consistently ranked high amongst the regions that are hard hit by poverty, noting that it is largely attributed the region’s failure to produce its own food.

“I wish to see the Omaheke Region diversifying its agricultural production soon to include all crops required for a balanced diet in every household, be it in the rural or urban setup,” he said.

Ueitele said the effects of the devastating drought that impacted on farming over the last season still remains visible, and grazing would not recover before the next rainy season.

“Some areas south of Gobabis, including Aminuis and parts of the Gobabis and Kalahari constituencies, as well Otjombinde, will most likely not recover during this current season despite above average rainfall. Grazing pastures will require more than one season to recover,” he stated.

He also used the opportunity to call on farmers who have been hit hard by the drought to remain vigilant and manage their livestock with great vision and foresight in order to avoid a similar large number of losses they incurred during the last drought.

Farmers drawn from all constituencies of the Omaheke region convened at Otjijarua, located some 160 kilometres (km) north of Gobabis, to display their produce. Large quantities of watermelons, pumpkins, ground nuts, onions, tomatoes, spinach and sugar cane were amongst the produce displayed on the day.

The Omaheke Region, according to statistics from the Namibian Statistics Agency (2011), draws over 64 per cent of its livelihood from the agriculture and forestry sector. This is however largely livestock farming, as the rest of economic income – which includes manufacturing, construction and support services – constitutes less than five per cent.