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Vice President Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah has inaugurated a 20-hectare crop and vegetable community garden in Outjo that is to be a key player in the agricultural sector in the Kunene Region, amidst the challenges of drought spells and food insecurity at household levels.

Initiated in August 2019, with the first production only taking place in January this year, the N$5 million-valued Harambe-Oyetu community garden will be operating on a commercial basis under the terms of the Green Scheme Policy.

On this, Ndaitwah says the government will relay support to ensure that the project succeeds.
"Therefore, our government stands firm behind initiatives like the Harambe-Oyetu project. Recognising their pivotal role in food security and job creation through agriculture. Yes, this project, no doubt, though it's now in the hands of the National Youth Council, at its initial stage should still require the support of multiple stakeholders. Of course, our Ministry of Agriculture or the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, should also continue to give technical support in terms of giving or allowing extension service officers."

Ndaitwah further stressed the need for regional inhabitants to buy locally fresh produce for project continuity and warned that it would not turn into a white elephant. 

Giving the project overview, Kunene Governor Marius Sheya said similar projects will be set up in all the constituencies, with plans to also expand the Harambe-Oyetu project to incorporate fish and chicken farming.

"When I went to the Roots Project in Stampriet, I said to myself, We will also do something similar in Outjo, in Opuwo in Khorixas, in Kamanjab, and in Okanguati. We will do something similar, and this is just a replica."

Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Zhao Weiping said they sponsored the project because of the China-Namibia Corporation's interest in agricultural development.

"I know great efforts are being made by the Namibian government to improve the nation's agricultural sector. As a friend of Namibia, China has always taken what Namibia needs as our priority in implementing development assistance projects in Namibia. Since agriculture is so important to Namibia, we are certainly determined to do more in this area."

As project custodian and National Youth Service Commissioner, Dr. Felix Musukubili promised the garden would be cultivated to become the bread basket of the town and region.

The garden will also be used as a centre for horticulture students, training for small-scale farmers, and a vegetable and seeding production unit.

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Faith Sankwasa