SHADIKONGORO: The second harvesting of Namibian-grown barley was witnessed at the Shadikongoro Irrigation Project, situated some 180 kilometres east of Rundu in the Mukwe Constituency, on Monday. The harvest, which was grown on six hectares of land with six varieties of barley grain, forms part of the second round of trials of a barley feasibility study currently being carried out by the Ohlthaver & List Group of Companies (O&L).
The feasibility study is aimed at exploring various malting options in determining the viability of a local malt barley industry. O&L’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Patricia Hoeksema told Nampa on Monday that the barley project feasibility study is a result of 2010 deliberations between O&L and its empowerment partners, Epia, who were keen to see Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) explore the feasibility of growing brewing barley locally in an effort to create jobs for Namibians.
Hoeksema explained that, part of NBL’s strategy as a member of the O&L group, is to build innovative and sustainable businesses which generate long-term profitability. “Should NBL, with the support of its partners such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, as well as the University of Namibia (Unam), be able to stimulate a successful barley malt industry in Namibia, this will provide numerous employment opportunities and secondary benefits to our country,” she said.
Shadikongoro Irrigation Project Manager Floris Smith indicated that although this is the first time barley is grown at the project, it appears to have yielded results. Meanwile, Unam’s Dr Jorry Kaurivi noted that the first barley trials which commenced last June with the planting of six potentially suitable varieties at Omahenene in the Omusati Region; Mashare in the Kavango Region; Mannheim in the Oshikoto Region and at the Namibia Dairies Superfarm in the Hardap Region have proved that barley can be grown in Namibia.
He indicated that the first harvest was concluded in November last year after which the grains were sent for various tests in Namibia as well as in Germany.
Once the second barley harvest is concluded, the grains will be shipped to Germany for further tests and for malting, and it will then be returned to Namibia and used to brew local beer should it conform to NBL’s strict Reinheitsgebot quality credentials.