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Nekongo irked by state of Mashare

2022-09-06  John Muyamba

Nekongo irked by state of Mashare

MASHARE – Swapo Party Youth League secretary and member of parliament Ephraim Nekongo is disappointed at the state of affairs at the dilapidated Mashare Agricultural Development Institute in the Kavango East region, where the infrastructure is slowly diminishing due to a lack of maintenance.

The centre has since 2019 not received any budget to enable them to do maintenance and also take care of its purpose.

Mashare was established as a government training institution in the early 1960s as a breeding station for indigenous livestock, goats, pigs, cattle, chicken and also do training for farmers in small stock husbandry, horticulture as well as do research, looking at various technologies that farmers may need in the evolving agriculture sector.

“I’m very disappointed. We are at Mashare just to be disappointed that the institution that is supposed to train young people is in the state we are seeing. Even those who are responsible – like the ministers and the executive director – turn a blind eye on this facility,’’ he said last week during a surprise visit to what was once the centre of excellence.

Nekongo was part of the parliamentary standing committee on natural resources, which oversees the activities of the ministry of agriculture, who were on a tour of a government agriculture project in Kavango East last week. 

“I’m wholeheartedly disappointed. I looked around and checked what is happening here, and I appreciate the effort of the young man who is taking care of the facility – and he is saying he has been communicating with the people in Windhoek at the ministry but they don’t come forth, so it is really my hope that as parliament we will take it up and hope that the ministry deals with this issue so that our young people can be able to receive training and contribute to the country’s economy,” he noted on the sidelines of the official visit.

“Nowadays, they talk about young people who are not interested in farming but young people want to farm; the problem is that they are not exposed. They need to be trained, and agriculture is a sector that needs practical training so that you grasp the basic skills at the farm but here you are – you look at the facility,” he said.

Nekongo told New Era in an interview that what is happening at Mashare shows the country has its priorities skewed. 

“Priorities are supposed to be food production; train people so that they are able to produce for the country – and as a country, that is what we are aiming for. Now, if they are not budgeting for a place like this, then as a country, we have wrong priorities at the end of the day,” he said.

Due to a lack of budget from the government, the centre is falling apart – even the chickens that they were breeding have all died due to a lack of funds for feed and vaccines. 

There are only a few numbers of pigs as well as 102 cattle from the 200 heads of cattle that were there.

Mashare also produces all the seeds in Namibia for various mahangu varieties and cowpeas but the money generated is handled by the ministry, and it does not come back to assist the centre.

“In the past, Mashare used to receive its own budget but that has not happened since 2019: no funds for repairing machines, the fence and other infrastructure or any other needs of the centre according to the centre’s work plan,’’ said head of centre Lukas Mandema.

“We do our work plans but there is no funding to enable us to execute them up to now; we just do the little that we can in terms of training activities that used to be held here due to budgetary constraints,” he noted.

Mandema told the parliamentary standing committee that has engaged their ministry as well as the regional leadership about the dwindling situation at Mashare, which is due to the fact that they do not have a budget. 

“Our fence has collapsed; we tried seeking a budget to repair it but year in year out, there’s no funding. We moved the cattle from the affected side to the other side; we used to have 200 cattle but now we only have 102. They are being stolen, as the fence is dilapidated,’’ he said. 

Mandema also told the visiting committee he has requested senior management at the ministry of agriculture’s head office to visit the centre to see the situation but they have not done so.


2022-09-06  John Muyamba

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