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Namibians to be trained on organic certification

2019-07-09  Staff Reporter

Namibians to be trained on organic certification
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Deon Schlechter

WINDHOEK - The Namibia Organic Association (NOA) is this Friday offering a training course which will inform farmers about the organic standards and requirements for organic certification.
 It will equip interested people with the knowledge of how to conduct a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) assessment.

Organic standards are the rules and regulations that define how an organic product is produced and any food labelled ‘organic’ must meet these standards as a minimum. 

The standards cover all aspects of food production - from animal welfare, animal feeding, vegetable, fruit and mushroom production, food processing and packaging.  

Producers who intend going organic are advised to attend the training. The costs are for NOA members is N$250 and non-members N$400 and students are free. Meanwhile, Namibians from all walks of life have been urged by the NOA to save water countrywide and grow their own organic vegetables to contribute to household food security during the ongoing drought. 

Founder and chairperson of NOA, Manjo Krige says Namibians are becoming more aware of their critical situation during this time to grow their own food in a natural, organic way. She has been growing organic herbs and vegetables for some thirteen years.

“Windhoek’s current water crisis is a perfect example of why we can’t continue with current food production methods.  Permaculture gives lots of great ideas for maximising water usage and conservation,” she said. 
She also said: “I learned that when growing vegetables, there is always a solution in nature.  Earth has been keeping plants alive much longer than humans have been around, so whatever the “problem” may be: nutrient deficiency, nutrient overabundance, pests, and infections. There is a solution that may involve companion planting, or planting something which invites a predator to the pest, or planting something which brings certain nutrients to the soil... whatever the “problem” may be, if we look to the earth for a natural solution, there will be one.”

‘‘Current industrial agricultural systems are causing huge environmental destruction so we need to learn to produce food in a way that leaves the earth in a better condition than how we found it.  It’s also just immensely satisfying to walk outside, harvest your dinner and then eat it.”

 “I started a small garden at work and love learning new ideas for how I can keep it healthy and happy.  I’m also planning on quitting my day job soon and going into fulltime farming, so I keep trying to learn more and more about organic food production before I make the leap.  I thoroughly enjoyed the course and left re-inspired and excited! 

 “I’ve been using effective microorganisms in my garden, increased my mulching, and have been a better parent to my worms.  I look forward to using more things I learned when I get to the farm.”

She notes that with accelerating climate change and degradation of the environment everyone should do as much as possible to ensure that everyone does not continue to do more damage to the environment. 
“It is now widely accepted that agriculture has a huge impact on climate change, thus I cannot see another way forward than organic agriculture. In addition, with the drought in Namibia, I feel we have to learn how best to adapt to our environment and to use what we have to be able to grow our food. So even if it means growing your own food in your garden using the resources from home, I feel that this already can make a small contribution to reducing your footprint,” she concludes.

2019-07-09  Staff Reporter

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