28 Nov 2013 08:50am
WINDHOEK, 28 NOV (NAMPA) Namibia is one step closer to becoming the first African country to produce and export tomato seeds to international markets, with a tomato hybrid seed-production project commencing at Aussenkehr in January 2014.
This was announced by the Executive Director of Women's Action for Development (WAD), Veronica de Klerk during a courtesy call on the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Hage Geingob, along with investors from Israel and The Netherlands.
The seed-production project was introduced to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry some two years ago already.
This tomato seed-production project would be the first of its kind in Africa, De Klerk boasted.
It is jointly supported by WAD, Israels Technical Management Services Agricultural project (TMS-Agri), and Pupkewitz Holdings.
TMS-Agri obtained a licence to produce hybrid tomato seeds on behalf of the Dutch-German global seed company, Nunhems.
Under the licence, WAD, Pupkewitz Holdings and TMS-Agri will set up a pilot project at Aussenkehr in the //Karas Region in early January.
De Klerk said her organisation and a number of agricultural experts travelled to various regions in Namibia to determine where the micro-climatic conditions would be ideal for hybrid seed production.
WAD is very excited that Aussenkehr has since been approved by these agricultural experts as having the ideal micro-climatic conditions for the pilot phase of the project, she added.
The pilot phase of the project will include the solicitation of 24 hectares of arable land, the installation of equipment, irrigation systems and Green Houses, and the intensive additional training of women to be employed at the project.
It is estimated that more than 1 000 women will be employed at the pilot project, which will also see the production of watermelons, sweet melons, cucumbers and green peppers, amongst other fresh produce.
The MAWF has already tested the seeds, and has certified that the seeds were found to be Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)-free, De Klerk noted.