From his small workshop in the southern industrial area in Windhoek, one man is set to leave a big footprint on the Namibian and African crop farming landscape with his innovative designs, and locally manufactured rippers, planters and rollers. So much so that interest is pouring in from top crop producing countries across Africa and further abroad. Gerhard Baufeldt, owner of Baufi’s Agricultural Supplies and manufacturer of the implements now catching the eyes of major crop farming countries, is a firm advocate of the Conservation Agriculture (CA) system and ultimately the zero-tillage system. His planters, rippers and rollers have recently undergone stringent testing in the Hochfeld area, and after selling some of these in West Africa and South America, he is ready to introduce his own developed and so-called three-in-one system to the seven crop producing regions of northern Namibia this June. This will be done at a Conservation Agriculture Day at Omuthiya of which the date is still to be announced. Thus far, Baufeldt has received interest for his equipment from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Ghana and Ethiopia as well as South America and Indonesia. His unique roller was recently thoroughly tested on a farm near Hochfeld when some 100 hectares were flattened and the coulter cutter and planter was also put to the test. Baufeldt says the system was invented and built with one thing in mind, and that is to protect the soil. “We can apply all the best modern practises and scientific methods but if we don’t recover our soil by creating cover soil with organic matter and retain moisture during the dry months, we won’t be able to utilise any of the soil. Soil erosion is the biggest enemy of communal crop farmers in the north. It all starts and ends with soil science,” he emphasises. With his tried and tested methods in line with CA principles, no chemical fertilisers or insecticides are needed. This is because the cover crop provides all of that while clever rangeland management of cattle will supply the micro and macro matter needed to feed and enrich the soil as all trace elements are put back into the soil. The cover crop is then made up of legumes and will supply nitrogen in the soil. This kind of set up will benefit even more in a rain season like this year when late rains added moisture to the soil, Baufeldt explains. The n-till method has made great strides since CA was introduced in Namibia and the University of Namibia (Unam) recently launched a three-year research project on the topic.
New Era Reporter
2015-05-19 11:08:47 3 years ago