Full-time communal farmer Rosa Korukuve has eventually managed to kick off one of her longest standing ambitions by starting up a vegetable garden to complement her household needs.
Korukuve farms at Otjinakwi village, located some 80km east of Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa region.
It is from here where she has been practising various forms of animal husbandry, including small-stock rearing and cattle farming.
She had, however, over the years developed a strong yearning for horticulture, which moved her to set her plan for a garden in motion.
The plan eventually lifted off the ground with the clearing of one hectare of land in preparation for the garden.
“I started planting my first crop in 2021, which were mealies and beans. I decided to focus on these crops, as they are very popular in the area I farm, and they grow well in the area too,” Korukuve said.
Despite Rosa’s good intentions with her garden, it has not been easy to practise horticulture in the village.
Amongst the challenges facing her initiative has been a limited supply of water, which has meant she can only plant rain-fed crops.
Also, improper fencing around her home garden has caused extensive damage to her crops due to cows and other animals making their way into the garden.
“I did not reap much from the first harvest in 2021, as all my crops were destroyed by livestock making their way into my garden through the barrier I have erected,” she said.
Korukuve has used dried tree shrubs and branches as fencing around the garden, which has not proven effective against invasive livestock.
She has, however, learned from her initial experience and fenced off part of the garden with poles and wire, although the fencing is yet to be small-stock proof.
Korukuve said the fact that the garden is located some distance away from the main household has resulted in little security against livestock.
“The area where the garden is located is a bit far from the main house, which makes it difficult to control or prevent the cattle from invading the garden. But it has been a bit better now with the partial fencing,” she noted.
The farmer said her transition into horticulture from livestock farming has not been easy, largely due to limited knowledge of various aspects of crop farming.
She said, unlike livestock farming, which has different associations representing the members’ interests, crop farming in the area has no similar structures in existence.
This, she said, has made it difficult for new crop farmers like herself to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise in the field.
“If there are organisations out there that assist by providing training to people like me, please let me know so that I can be better empowered to carry out my crop farming venture,” she said.
Korukuve said her second harvest of mealies, beans and pumpkins produced better results due to the partial improvement of her garden infrastructure.