RUNDU - Chairperson of the Kavango East Regional Farmers Union, Adolf Muremi, is urging local farmers to look into planting fruit trees on a large scale as a business venture.
These can also be used in producing juice and selling fruits to locals for nutritional purposes. A two-day training on Sustainable Fruit Tree Production (SFTP) was held at Green Paradise Orchard at Muroro village in the Mashare Constituency, Kavango East Region last Wednesday and Thursday. “Most of us farmers don’t want to venture into establishing orchards, why can’t we? What is the big reason that we can’t even plant a few trees even on a small plot? Let’s get involved this year. I was lucky to have visited Israel, and there you cannot travel without seeing mangoes, bananas or olive trees. For example, if you are travelling a distance from here to Divundu the whole area is covered,” says Muremi.
“We have a river, we have fertile soil what is our problem, so we need to start working very hard. Let’s look at import versus export, we import most of the fruits that we consume in our country, so our money is going out of the country and we are not getting any foreign currency, let’s look into that because if we plant more fruits to be able to supply a juice making factory, employment will be created in the orchard and factory,” Muremi adds.
The training was with the help of the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, through its Communal Land Development Project (CLDP). This is part of its training series in promoting diversification to increase the production of fruits, vegetables, poultry and other agricultural produces in the country. The training is also aimed at improving food availability and nutrition at the household level in communal areas.
The lead field advisor of CLDP, Oliver Manungo, says there is a need for farmers to diversify and not only focus on livestock and crops. “From a nutritional point of view, it is important that we understand the facts that fruit is food. The reason we are not consuming as many fruits as we are supposed to is that the fruit is not available or we cannot afford it,” Manungo emphasises.