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Green schemes' time to shine

2024-05-29  Correspondent

Green schemes' time to shine

Charles Ndeumane

Paulina Ndalikokule

 

With growing concerns about the country’s drought conditions, calls have emerged for the implementation of green schemes in communities. 

Namibia is a dry country, and with rainy seasons becoming increasingly short, the country must begin working on programmes which will empower communities to become self-sufficient. Local small-scale farmers, successful gardeners and local authorities have all joined the conversation to provide their thoughts on the matter. Politician and farmer Ephraim Nekongo said it is possible for each constituency to run a successful green scheme, provided that aligns with the value chain. 

“Each constituency can specialise in specific products and supply to different institutions in order to make profit,” the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL)
secretary said.  He acknowledged the water challenge, but asserted that such schemes can still be successful when systems to harvest water are put in place.  “There is water underground, and surface water during rainy seasons. With ways to harvest such water and smart methods of farming such as protecting your crops from direct sunlight and utilising drip irrigation, green schemes can succeed. 

 

 

 

These projects can create employment,
and if each constituency can produce at a large scale, at some point we can stop importing some food products,” stated Nekongo.

Successful northern small-scale farmer Ileni Nandjato told New Era that green schemes would help communities become self-dependent. He encouraged people in rural areas to convert their communal farming land into community green schemes.

“They can combine crop farming with stock and poultry farming, which would greatly benefit such communities. Many people are coming up with gardening projects, which shows that there is willingness, people want to produce their food,” he said.  

Nandjato added that water scarcity would be the biggest challenge in green scheme projects. 

“Even regions with more water such as Kavango and Zambezi struggle to produce, how about northern regions which receive little rainfall? This, however, does not mean that these projects cannot work,” he observed.

He said if government and entrepreneurs can come on board and assist communities financially and provide them with resources to harvest rainwater, green schemes can work. 

Ohangwena governor Sebastian Ndeitunga expressed a deep concern about water availability, stating that it will be a challenge to introduce a green scheme in each constituency. He thus advised people living near boreholes and along aquifers to start gardens to produce their food and to sell.

“We need to be careful not to overuse water because our region is big and our people are scattered. We have a lot of boreholes which the government built, but in some areas, the water is salty,” he said.

Ndeitunga then appealed to businesspeople to help drill more boreholes.

Oshana governor Elia Irimari said having a green scheme in each constituency could be realistic if there was enough land available.

“Unless we talk of re-arranging land, especially land that is wasted and not being used. Currently, the only places in the region where we can at least get a few hectares of land are in constituencies like Uuvudhiya, Okatyali, Ompundja and Uukwiyuushona,” he noted.

The government has over the years struggled to maintain the operations of green schemes. 

Last year, they decided to lease out unproductive green scheme farms to investors, and decided to hold onto three as it can sufficiently finance their operations.

Rundu Rural constituency councillor Paulus Mbangu, under whose constituency the Uvhungu-Vhungu green scheme falls, earlier said it requires about N$46 million to function to its full capacity.

He added that the green scheme faces high electricity charges, insufficient implements and tractors, as well as a lack of storage facilities.

Mbangu indicated that the administration of the green scheme is also still centralised, making it difficult for problems to be handled timeously.

Media reported that Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu was appealing to potential investors to reach out to his office to acquire land for green scheme project developments in the region.

-mrndeumaneraycharles@gmail.com

-ndalikokulep@gmail.com


2024-05-29  Correspondent

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