After a recent two days of intensive training in horticulture and poultry farming by Agribank training consultants, the women of the Okomumbonde village in the Epukiro constituency, Omaheke region are now confidently poised to take this self-reliance initiative to a different level.
Uppermost in their immediate plans is a poultry project zeroing in on egg production. The women under the village’s water point committee, Otjirondero, meaning ladder in Otjiherero, envision becoming the village’s ‘ladder’ to improved self-sufficiency, especially in food production.
This, according to those trained, is part of the government’s growth at home strategy, which is about Namibia becoming self-sufficient in food production and security, as opposed to the current situation where the country heavily relies on food imports from South Africa.
True to their vision and resolve, it transpired that the ingredients for meals during the two days of training were from food stuff such as ground beans, and other vegetables like pumpkin, onions and tomatoes, self-grown out of the home gardens of the villagers.
The poultry farming section of the training included subjects like broiler production, covering aspects such as the recommended slaughter age for broiler birds; the number of bags of feed required to finish the broiler production cycle and the spacing between the drinkers and feeders.
Trainees were also taken through layers of production, looking at the laying age for hybrid layers; the periods (length) of the laying season; the recommended rearing period for layers from day old to culling stage and the nest to hen ratio for the layers.
The second day was about the general principles of any farming venture, among them financial viability and the marketing of the products entailing the target market of any produce.
The day also concentrated on the various factors influencing planting such as the type of soil as well as the various crop types and the seasons best for them.
It ended with a practical demonstration of planting, such as making planting beds in one of the villagers’ home gardens, plus of course the various types of grasses, which the villagers themselves could plant to resuscitate their environment with different types of grasses which they normally buy.
What is left now is for the women to take what they started to the next level by approaching different donors and financial institutions for the start-up capital for their poultry project.