Staff on farmers’ mentorship programme increase

11 Sep 2014 09:30am
OMARURU, 11 SEP (NAMPA) – The number of officials serving in the Namibia farmers’ mentorship programme has increased to 40 from 21, meaning more local farmers can now benefit from the initiative.
The national mentorship programme was introduced by the Farmers Support Project (FSP) in 2011.
It is sponsored by the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) and partners such as the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank).
The programme aims to offer farming skills and practical support to Namibian resettled, communal and commercial farmers.
Delivering a presentation on the functions of the programme at the Erongo regional land symposium in Omaruru on Tuesday, mentor Arnoldt /Gaseb - who is assigned to the Erongo and Kunene regions - said there are now 40 mentors in the programme.
“The number of mentors increased from 21 in 2011 to 33 in 2013, and this year stands at 40. This made our work easier because now we are able to consult a lot of farmers and give them the necessary skills and advice they need for better farming,” said /Gaseb.
Mentors inform farmers about animal husbandry, marketing, breeding practices, financial record- keeping and the like.
/Gaseb thus used the opportunity to advise resettled farmers at the event to make use of the support, and develop themselves.
He said they should feel free to contact him and invite him for information sessions on their farms.
“If I visit you once, I expect you to call me back so that I can inspect your progress.
But if you do not do so, I might not come back and just continue with those who are calling me, so let’s stay in touch always,” he stressed.
He was also quick to register his disappointment regarding the lack of commitment from some farmers he had dealt with, saying they do not follow the advice given to them.
“For instance, you visit a farmer and tell him to vaccinate his animals, clean the kraal or get a better bull.
When you come back for the second time, you will find that they did none of that, which is very disappointing,” charged the mentor.
Farmers were likewise urged to share information and help each other with quality bulls and rams in order to improve the quality of their livestock.
“The way forward is to continuously monitor the progress of participating farmers with the aim of seeing them producing quality animals,” /Gaseb noted.
Currently, the programme is active in regions such as //Karas, Erongo, Kunene, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Hardap, Khomas, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto and Ohangwena.
It is still to reach the Zambezi and Kavango West and East regions.
More than 50 resettled farmers, traditional authority leaders, political leaders from the Erongo Region, Regional Land Board members and officials from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry attended the symposium.
It was hosted by the Erongo Regional Council through the office of the governor and the Lands Ministry, and was aimed at deliberating on challenges faced by resettled farmers and other land matters.
The two-day symposium ended on Wednesday.