IIPOPO – Cuvewaters, a German-Namibian project, on Monday handed over a flood-harvesting pilot plant at Iipopo to enable 10 homesteads to water a small market gardening project. This pilot project has a capacity of 400 cubic metres of water for domestic and gardening use by the beneficiary community at Iipopo in Okatana, about five kilometres east of Onaanda in Omusati. The 400 cubic metres translate to 400 000 litres of water enough to fill 2 000 drums, each with a capacity of 200 litres. Situated in the middle of water ponds, locally known as oshanas, the project has since 2012 been able to harvest excess floodwater from overflowing to nearby oshanas. Since then water previously left as drinking water for livestock or left to evaporate has been preserved to enable small-scale crop production, benefitting mainly women at Iipopo. The micro-scale horticulture project is vital for boosting food security in an area characterised by degraded soils and erratic rainfall. With the water harvested from floods, farmers are able to do market gardening. The water used to sustain the project during the dry season is pumped from the oshana into storage reservoirs and is used by 10 families to grow vegetables and fruits that are sold to the community and to nearby schools. The water storage facility consists of an underground tank and two ponds that have a capacity of 400 cubic metres of water. Apart from securing food, the project has empowered women by creating employment opportunities mostly for 10 female-headed households. Each of the 10 women has a garden patch to cultivate as well as a joint green house used to generate revenue for seeds, fertilisers, repair broken equipment and cater for their trips when they travel. A delighted German Ambassador to Namibia, Onno Hückmann, at the project handover said, “The farmers were all trained in preparing the soil and planting the seeds, how to supply the plants with fertiliser and how to use water efficiently.” The project manager, Rauna Nakaambo, said it is not all milk and honey to run the project, especially when there has not been sufficient rain.As a result of poor rainfall, some project members deserted the project, as they were no longer able to cater for their expenses or meet their household’s demands. However, when the rain is good the project is able to harvest enough water to run throughout the year, which yields a good harvest. “We were 12 when we started, so far four of the founding members have left. It is not always easy because when there is no rain there is also no money,” reminisced Nakaambo. Nakaambo said in case of low rainfall, farmers opt for tap water, but in most cases they do not have the revenue to cover the cost of usage. The produce from the project is sold to nearby schools in the area such as Onaanda, Omapopo and Etope. Also at the handover, the project’s namesake (Ipula Nawa), Willem Amweelo donated N$2 000 to the group and urged the women to work hard and to sustain the project. Apart from the handing over, Hückmann, Amweelo and the Okatana constituency councillor, Rosalia Shilenga, each planted a tree at the project. The project was built at a cost of N$500 000 with another N$500 000 used in the day-to-day expenses of the project. NamPower assisted the group to extend the plot as well as to fence off the area.
New Era Reporter
2015-04-15 10:03:20 4 years ago