EENHANA: Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) Chief Executive Officer Ambassador Leaonard Iipumba has called on crop farmers to produce more mahangu in order to increase the national grain storage capacity.
Iipumbu said this in a statement read on his behalf by the bank’s Senior Manager for Sales Service and Credit, Shalli Shindume at the 2012 Mahangu/Oshipe Festival and Mahangu Champion Awards held at Eenhana recently.
“The farmers who are going to receive the awards and prizes today should not become complacent. Instead you should redouble your efforts to produce more and contribute towards the increase in national grain storage capacity of the country,” Iipumbu stated.
He pointed out that Agribank has been the main sponsor of the Mahangu Festival and Mahangu Champion Awards over the past five years and will continue to support the initiative for the foreseeable future.
Agribank this year sponsored two 2 000 litre and 11 smaller silos worth a combined value of N.dollars 25 000, which were handed over as prizes to the winning farmers during the festival.
Silos, money and trophies were awarded to farmers who produced enough mahangu for both household consumption and the market in the mahangu-producing regions of Ohangwena, Caprivi, Kavando Kunene North, Omusati, Oshana and part of Oshikoto.
Iipumbu also encouraged small-scale farmers to group themselves into specific areas of production and form cooperatives in order to have easy access to Agribank financing with minimum collateral or security requirements.
He singled out Kenya as an African country which is advanced in the area of crop production, saying the Agribank will collaborate with its Kenyan counterpart to improve the products of small-scale farmers in Namibia.
“The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has constructed silos for grain storage throughout the strategic regions in the north and north-eastern part of the country to boost agricultural output and grain storage, in particular to use in time of need such as disasters,” the Agribank CEO noted.
With storage completed in the crop producing regions, he said, the small-scale farmers are guaranteed a market for their products.
According to Iipumbu, small-scale farmers play a significant role in employment creation, food security and the food self-sufficiency of the country.
A retired school principal, Samuel Tweufiilwa Nepunda from the Ohangwena Region, is this year’s overall winner of the Mahangu Champion competition.