18 Apr 2015 10:50am
SHIGHURU, 18 APR (NAMPA) - The first trial into cultivating rice at the Shighuru village in the Kavango East Regions Mashare Constituency has proven successful.
The University of Namibia (UNAM) engaged in the project with the Shighuru Womens Rice Project, which is run by 40 women at the said village situated some 70 kilometres east of Rundu.
The rice project was initiated by UNAMs Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lazarus Hangula in 2013, and had its first harvest this month.
The project, which produces rice on a 3 000 square metre piece of land, has so far harvested seven 25 kilogramme (kg) bags of rice which were officially handed over to the project participants by Hangula at Shighuru on Friday.
The vice-chancellor said during the handing over that the university has a mandate to translate the knowledge gained in classrooms into practical experience for local communities, stressing that the first trial has shown that rice can grow well in the two Kavango regions.
He stated that the Shighuru Womens Rice Project is not only important for food security but also for learning, as students can do their agriculture practicals in the fields.
Professor Hangula thanked members of the community and the regional government leadership for their readiness to work with the university, which he said has a mandate to contribute to Namibias development through education and community service as well as research.
He called on the community to take ownership of the rice project, noting that the institution is ready to assist them to gain all the necessary knowledge in rice production.
We are interested in the success of this project because it will give other communities alongside the river confidence. Please help us to make this project a success that can be replicated alongside the Okavango River, he said.
Meanwhile, UNAM Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Osmund Mwandemele said at the same occasion that the small piece of land the rice was grown on is just the beginning as the institution intends to replicate such projects in the Kavango West Region, depending on available resources.
Mwandemele stressed that Namibia, which has a small population of 2,1 million people, can feed itself if it invests in food production activities such as these.
The project, which is aimed at transferring skills in rice production, is being carried out under the auspices of the UNAM Foundation in collaboration with the UNAM Rundu Campus and the universitys Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
UNAM in the past had success in rice cultivation at the Kalimbeza national rice project in the Zambezi Region.