11 May 2014 11:20am
OTJIMANANGOMBE, 09 MAY (NAMPA) - In their quest to diversify the economy of the Omaheke Region and eventually wean it off the large dependency on the animal husbandry sector, residents here have taken to crop farming.
The residents' efforts have culminated in the planned establishment of a community garden project, which will upon completion provide much-needed fresh produce to supplement community feeding in the entire Omaheke Region.
The community garden, which will comprise 1 000 hectares when finally completed in 2017, will also produce animal feed to be sold to local communities at lower rates than the current commercial prices.
The low-priced animal feed will be especially handy during the dry months of the year when prices for animal feed products usually peak.
The community garden will largely produce vegetables, although a sizeable number of fruit will also be produced at the garden.
Going by the name Omaheke Agricultural Community Project, the garden will be established some seven kilometres outside Otumbonde - a tiny village located 220 kilometres (km) north-east of Gobabis.
A community meeting on Thursday called by those steering the garden's planning and coordination for the input of the community on the project, received favourable response.
Gift Kamupingene, a consultant who has been mandated with getting the project through its formative stages, told Nampa on Friday the community have welcomed the project with open arms
We were overwhelmed by the response of the community towards the project. They have taken ownership and regard it as their own project, which is exactly what we were hoping for from those living around the project area, he said.
Kamupingene said the project will employ between 400 and 500 permanent residents from the Omaheke Region upon completion; and this number is expected to increase to 900 employees, including seasonal workers.
One of the founding members of the project, Collin Katjangua, told Nampa on the sidelines of the community meeting that the project will also be geared towards supporting the envisaged dairy plant to be set up at Otjimanangombe, which is located some 212 km north-east of Gobabis.
We want to complement the work of the dairy farm by supplying animal feed for the dairy cows, and also by providing some partial grazing to these cows, said Katjangua.
The project is expected to produce vegetables to be sold within the Omaheke Region, while orphans and vulnerable communities stand to benefit through donations of foodstuff from this project.