Horticulture projects boom at Okavango River

21 Nov 2013 16:10pm
RUNDU, 21 NOV (NAMPA) – A number of small-scale horticultural projects have been established along the Okavango River in both the Kavango East and Kavango West regions, as more unemployed people are turning to the activity to generate an income.
The opening of the Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub earlier this week has served as encouragement for horticulture producers who are growing a variety of fruit and vegetables along the river with the hope of marketing and selling their produce at the hub.
Producers have demarcated their gardens on the banks of the Okavango River by fencing it off, using either poles or shrubs.
Most use containers to water their gardens, while those who were unable to secure a space alongside the river and who have established gardens about 300 metres away from it, draw water from the river by using small water pumps.
The producers have allocated themselves one or two hectares each for the gardens, where vegetables such as cabbages, onions, carrots and spinach are grown before being marketed at the town’s open markets, or sold to individuals and business people.
Some also supply fruit and vegetables to catering companies around the region.
Carlos Hausiku, one of the producers who established his garden on a one-hectare piece of land earlier this year, told Nampa on Thursday that he decided to engage in horticulture after noticing that other fresh-produce farmers were earning an income from growing vegetables in the area.
He said besides unemployment, the current drought situation also influenced his decision as he was finding it really difficult to sustain his family of four.
Hausiku furthermore hopes to team up with other producers so that they could market and sell their produce at the Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub, which opened for trading on Monday this week.
Horticultural producers can now thus start bringing in their produce for trading.
It was officially opened by Agriculture, Water and Forestry Deputy Minister Lempy Lucas, who also announced at the occasion that the Ongwediva Fresh Produce Hub will be officially opened on 29 November.
The Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA), which will be responsible for managing these two centres, has appointed six agents comprising wholesalers and commission agents, who will be responsible for the selling and buying of the fresh produce.
About 60 selected horticultural farmers have been trained by the Agriculture Ministry on horticultural production, specifically on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and have been certified as horticultural producers.