Shadikongoro Green Scheme sets sights on cooking oil production

Niël Terblanché

The Shadikongoro Green Scheme Irrigation Project in Namibia has reported an income of N$7 million from the latest cropping season.

Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, announced the achievement earlier this week.

While on a visit to the project, Nghituwamata, along with other top ministry officials and a representative from the United Nations World Food Programme, shared exciting plans for the local processing of sunflower seeds into cooking oil.

In 2010, the Shadikongoro project, located approximately 180 kilometres east of Rundu in the Mukwe Constituency of the Kavango East Region, constructed its first sunflower oil production unit.

As part of its long-term plan to ensure food security, the government established the 30,000-hectare farm.

Despite challenges such as inconsistent policies and the need for more effective management and technical skills, these irrigation-based initiatives have demonstrated significant potential.

In the past, the green schemes have faced operational hurdles, including underfunding and management issues, which have hampered their productivity.

However, there is a renewed focus on revitalising these projects through better policy frameworks, technology implementation, and increased community and private sector involvement.

According to Nghituwamata, 24 hectares of land at the Shadikongoro farm are currently dedicated to sunflower cultivation, with plans to see the locally produced cooking oil on Namibian shelves by the end of this year.

“This initiative not only supports local agriculture but also moves Namibia towards greater self-sufficiency in essential goods,” Nghituwamata said.

She added that the success at Shadikongoro is proof of what can be achieved with targeted investment and strategic management, echoing the broader goals of Namibia’s agricultural sector to contribute significantly to the country’s GDP and ensure sustainable development.

Nghituwamata said that with the government’s continued push for agricultural reform and investment, the future of green schemes like Shadikongoro holds promise for boosting Namibia’s food security, providing job opportunities, and enhancing the economic status of its people.

According to Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo, the initiative to revive sunflower production will benefit the country.

“Now we can buy locally, and hopefully the price of this cooking oil will be cheaper for the surrounding communities. Even the Office of the Prime Minister’s drought relief programme will benefit because this will cut the cost of transport,” he said.

The Agricultural Business Development Agency (AgriBusDev) ran the green scheme for a while before dissolving the company in 2023.

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