EENHANA: Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa says crop farmers should adopt innovative practices and technologies that will enable them to cope with adverse climatic conditions.
Mutorwa said this at Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region whilst officiating at the 2012 Mahangu Champion Awards event and the Mahangu Festival, locally known as ‘Oshipe’, on Saturday.
He pointed out that it is necessary for farmers to adopt innovative practices and technologies because of increasing reports that extreme atmospheric events which are attributed to climate change will continue to influence global rainfall patterns.
Mutorwa referred to poor cereal harvests experienced in various parts of Namibia’s communal crop-producing regions due to poor rainfall in some parts, and floods in other parts, during the 2011/12 crop season as a result of adverse climatic conditions.
The minister expressed satisfaction with the mahangu farmers’ commitment and determination to produce surplus mahangu despite the effects of climate change on crops.
“That is why we are here today, to honour farmers who have set an example of working hard in their mahangu fields and applying new, improved technologies and good farming practices to produce more mahangu,” he told his audience.
The main objectives of the awards and festival are to encourage farmers to produce more mahangu for household consumption and to generate income through the marketing of surplus mahangu.
The event was hosted in the Ohangwena Region for the second time on Saturday, because this year’s National Grand Mahangu Champion, Samuel Tweufiilwa Nepunda, is from that region.
The 77-year-old Nepunda was crowned the National Grand Mahangu Champion of 2012 at Eenhana on Saturday.
He was also the 2009 National Grand Mahangu Champion. Nepunda produces a bumper harvest from his 23 hectare (ha) crop field at Emanya village in the east of the Ohangwena Region each year.
“This is a result of hard work and commitment, and not because I use something else to get a bumper harvest,” said Nepunda while addressing the Oshipe gathering on Saturday.
He told Nampa in an interview on the sidelines of the Oshipe gathering that his mahangu cultivation during the last cropping season was only 18 hectares and did not cover all 23 hectares because he had to make use of other farmers’ tractors for ploughing after his own tractor broke down.
He employs 15 to 20 villagers for the weeding and harvesting of mahangu every season.
A number of farmers from the crop-producing regions of Ohangwena, Caprivi, Kavango, Kunene North, Omusati, Oshana, Otjozondjupa and a part of Oshikoto gathered at Eenhana for the Oshipe Festival on Saturday.