Agriculture ministry assesses Q1 progress

Niël Terblanché

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform convened a week-long workshop bringing together management from all 14 regions to review the major activities and performance of the first quarter of the current financial year.

The ministry’s Executive Director, Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, outlined key accomplishments and challenges, emphasising the ministry’s commitment to improving service delivery and sustainable development.

Water supply and sanitation initiatives

Nghituwamata highlighted progress in providing rural water supply and sanitation.

She detailed the construction of 12 new earth dams for water harvesting across four regions: Ohangwena (5), Oshana (4), Kavango West (2), and Hardap (1).

Additionally, the ministry constructed three new pipelines and rehabilitated three short pipelines, ensuring the rehabilitation of 47 existing water points and the cleaning of 34 boreholes.

A total of 815 private off-takes (POTs) were connected, and 146 new boreholes were drilled, with 82 of these newly drilled boreholes installed.

The ministry also made strides in sanitation, constructing 94 sanitation facilities, predominantly in Oshikoto (88), with additional facilities in Oshana (4) and Kavango East (2).

According to Nghituwamata, these efforts have contributed to achieving an average potable water supply coverage of 91.75% nationwide.

Agricultural Production and Green Scheme Projects

Nghituwamata provided an update on the ministry’s agricultural initiatives, focusing on the operationalization of eight Green Scheme projects: Etunda, Musese, Sikondo, ORIP, Shandikongoro, Hardap, Uvungu-Vhungu, and Shadikongoro.

She reported that Etunda planted 210 hectares of wheat for harvest later in the year and harvested 180 hectares of maize with an average yield of 8.7 tonnes per hectare.

Sikondo harvested 75 hectares of maize, with an average yield of 4 tonnes per hectare.

Ndonga Linena harvested 408.96 tonnes of maize from 60 hectares and planted additional crops such as oats (33 hectares) and lucerne (10 hectares).

She said that progress is also noted at the Kalimbeza Rice Project, where seeds and fertilisers have been ordered to plant 50 hectares of rice while the redesigning process is ongoing.

Veterinary Services and Animal Health

Nghituwamata said that the ministry continues its efforts in animal disease surveillance and control. The ministry vaccinated 121 079 cattle against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and 25 089 dogs and cats against rabies during the review period. Veterinary officials also tagged 26 970 cattle with official ear tags.

Land Reform and Resettlement Efforts

She reported on the ministry’s land reform achievements, including the acquisition of three farms totalling 15 104 hectares in the Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, and Kunene regions for resettlement.

Nghituwamata said that the ministry issued 14 lease agreements to resettled beneficiaries and registered 1,080 customary land rights and 11 leasehold rights.

Efforts to address land grabbing were also highlighted, with steps being taken to terminate leasing agreements with non-compliant operators and remove unauthorised fences restricting community grazing land.

Future Outlook and Challenges

According to Nghituwamata, the ministry aims to refine its strategies and enhance service delivery.

Oshana Regional Governor Elia Irimari called for the re-opening of the Eloolo abattoir at Oshakati and urged the ministry to address the increasing issue of land grabbing.

Nghituwamata assured that the ministry is committed to reopening the abattoir and tackling these challenges to support Namibia’s agricultural and rural development goals.

The workshop, which continues until Friday, provides a platform for ministry officials to discuss and strategize on improving service delivery and achieving sustainable development in Namibia’s agricultural sector.

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