Innovative Farming Methods Key In Enhancing Production

Date:

Kotakae Cluster farmers have been urged to embrace innovative technologies in farming to ensure high yields that would guarantee food security.

This was said by UNDP Resident Representative Dr Balazc Horvath during a visit to a 146-hectare cluster farm run by 106 farmers, a part of United Nations Development Plan (UNDP)’s project of strengthening the resilience of drought- affected households and small scale farmers in the Ngamiland district to improve their food security,” which was recently launched in Shakawe.

The farm currently operates with 106 active farmers, which include 86 women and 17 men.

The objective of the project is to promote and support climate-smart agricultural practices to 200 community members engaged in cluster gardens to drive economic development and improve community welfare.

The farmers in the cluster grow different kinds of crops including maize which is what they mostly produce, millet, sorghum and cowpeas.

Horvath encouraged farmers to consider the use of different agricultural technologies such as the root irrigation system to reduce water wastage. He also advised them to work together to find the best way to bring out good results that would ensure high yields.

Acting crop production officer in Okavango district, Elizabeth Keabetswe said that they are facing various challenges that include decrease in production due to lack of farming implements, low water supply and the destruction of crops by wild animals.

She said in 2012, government funded the fencing of the cluster farm after elephants destroyed their crops, and the situation got better even though some elephants still managed to gain entry into the farm. However, in 2016 a three strain electric fence was installed around the farm with the assistance of the Ecoexist project.

Keabetswe further expressed that they are faced with a shortage of farm equipment as farmers still use animal drawn implements to plough their fields. She however said they have requested for two tractors from the UNDP funded project which will change the situation as they already have fertile soils in the farm.

Meanwhile, Kotakae Cluster Chairperson Dikubembiro Makaeko said they will put more effort to improve the farm. He further pleaded for the government to assist them with the necessary ploughing equipment in order for the farm to produce through out the year.

 “This will help us to keep our farm operating throughout the year to improve livelihoods,” Makaeko added.

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