ONGWEDIVA – Amid fears of a looming drought envisaged in the country following low rainfall experienced since the start of the rainy season, 30 percent of the land at Etunda Irrigation Project near Ruacana is not under production.
Agribusdev Managing Director, Petrus Uugwanga, said 400 hectares (ha) of the irrigation scheme’s 1 200ha are not under production.
Of the 400ha, 300ha were commercially allocated to a private company for the production of asparagus.
Uugwanga said plans are at an advanced stage to have the 300ha under production in the near future.
According to Uugwanga, the remaining 100ha were allocated to medium-scale farmers and is now lying idled because the farmers vacated or got evicted due to non-performance.
Such plots, according to Uugwanga, will be advertised soon for the project to become fully operational again.
Some farmers New Era spoke to lamented the high cost of inputs such as fertiliser, which costs between N$300 and N$500.
In addition to the high cost, the selling price of the produce is too low compared to the money spent to keep the operations of an individual farmer going.
One farmer further lamented that the maize, which is one of the main produce at the project, is sold at N$190 per bag of dried maize to the government through the Etunda office.
“This is too cheap compared to the resources we put in. It was going to be fair if a bag is sold at least for N$300 upwards,” the farmer lamented.
Uugwanga said despite having land, which is not under production, Etunda continues to contribute significantly to national food security.
“Etunda contributes significantly to the national food security. Apart from the constant supply of vegetables and milled products like wheat and maize meal, it also supplies the national food bank,” said Uugwanga.
Other challenges facing the project include the high electricity and water costs and cash flow emanating from the 2016/17 armyworm invasion.
2019-03-12 09:36:57 4 months ago