Kalimbeza Rice project workers appeal for better road

23 Oct 2013 09:20am
KALIMBEZA, 23 OCT (NAMPA) - Villagers and workers at the Kalimbeza Rice project near Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region have appealed to government to upgrade the road leading to the project in order to reduce road accidents during the rainy season.
This dusty village, situated some 40km east of Katima Mulilo, houses one of the country’s Green Scheme projects, which strives to attain food self-sufficiency for the country.
Villagers say the 20km-stretch of gravel road becomes slippery for vehicles during the rainy season, resulting in many accidents. They thus want the road upgraded to bitumen standards.
Workers at the rice project as well as guest house and lodge owners subsequently do not use their vehicles when it rains here to avoid damages to the vehicles.
The Agricultural Research Technician at the Kalimbeza Rice project, Venaune Hepute told Nampa on Wednesday that the dilapidated Kalimbeza road is one of the biggest challenges the project is facing, given the fact that the project is expanding and the road thus gets busy daily.
He said many heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles use the road en route to the project and the accommodation establishments surrounding it, but the road is not being rehabilitated regularly.
Hepute thus proposed that the government should consider tarring this strategic road, saying all residents of the region could derive some economic benefits from it if it is in a better condition.
Although no official statistics of road accidents on that road were available, villagers said many accidents occurred there during every rainy season.
Meanwhile, the rice project has started transplanting a variety of rice, including the ‘Iriga’ and ‘Angola’ rice types, on a 21-hectare piece of land.
Hepute said rice-harvesting is expected in January next year, if flooding does not spoil it this year.
The project covers a total area of 222 hectares, of which 30 hectares is currently 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.