30 Jul 2013 09:50
KALIMBEZA, 30 JUL (NAMPA) Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa is happy with the progress being made on the construction of infrastructure at the Kalimbeza Rice Project.
The rice project is situated some 40 kilometres (km) east of Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Regions Kabbe Constituency, and is being expanded to increase its production and to make it a fully-fledged Green Scheme project.
During the 2011/2012 financial year, N.dollars 20 million was allocated to the project for the expansion of infrastructure.
Mutorwa visited the project on Friday, and told this reporter on Saturday that he was happy with the progress being made there.
The contractors told me they will complete the construction work towards the end of this year, he said.
The expansion of the infrastructure includes the construction of office blocks, 14 houses for staff and a warehouse.
The Chief Agriculture Research Technician at the project, Patrick Kompeli, told this reporter on Tuesday that both the houses and the warehouse will be completed by September this year, as the contractors are now at the roofing and plastering stage.
The warehouse will include a storeroom, rice-processing plant, research laboratory and a rice-milling plant.
A total of N.dollars 14 million was budgeted for the construction of the 14 houses, while N.dollars 28 million was budgeted for the construction of the warehouse and office complex.
The Kalimbeza Rice Project currently grows three varieties of rice, namely Super, Iriga and Angola.
The project covers a total area of 222 hectares, of which 30 hectares is under production.
It was declared a national project by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2009, indicating its potential to address food security and poverty reduction in the country, and was jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, and the University of Namibia (Unam) in 2007.
A research laboratory which is being built at the rice project, is expected to be named after the late Professor Luke Kanyomeka to honour his memory.
The laboratory will be used for research and experimentation on rice production.
The late Kanyomeka, who was instrumental in spearheading the establishment of the Kalimbeza Rice Project, died in a Windhoek hospital in June 2011 after a short illness.
Mutorwa proposed in 2011 during Pohambas visit to the project that the new laboratory be named after the late Kanyomeka, who was often referred to as Dr Rice.
Pohamba observed then that Kanyomeka was from Zambia, a country which played an important role in helping Namibia to obtain independence, as it hosted the ruling Swapo-Partys freedom fighters then.