Small and Medium scale farmers in the Hardap Region were commended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, for playing a role in food security in the country.

The parliamentary oversight committee visited the Hardap Green Scheme Irrigation Project at Mariental and also engaged stakeholders in the agriculture sector.

The Hardap region is home to the second biggest dam in the country, ideal for irrigation projects. 

The Hardap Dam outside Mariental provides water for residents and surrounding farms, while it is also used for the irrigation of a number of agricultural crop productions, ranging from dates to lucerne. 

The Chair of the oversight committee, Vincent Mareka says that the government invested millions in infrastructure to ensure that communities benefit from the alleviation of poverty. 

"Facilities are in place, but there are some of them that are not coping, it's heartbreaking the vast land that we got in the South Hardap for example, with the water that it has at its disposal in this region as well, how best can we sustain ourselves food-wise."

Member of Parliament, Ephraim Nekongo, says that subsidies provided to farmers need to be reviewed. 

"You can see the money allocated was utilized for its purpose although we still feel as parliamentarians the fund is little, the program, for example, the horticulture production where they are given materials we still feel that maybe they can do better they can give it for free for the people because if people can do the work, why can't we give it for free."
George Eiseb is one such farmer, who currently has a five-year lease on six hectares at the Hardap Irrigation Scheme where he grows lucerne for the local market. 

"The medium-scale farmers have a meeting, and in that meeting we also said to each other, let us approach the government so that government gives us barren land that is being operated by the commercial side of Agribusdev so that we can mentor and train the youth on that land so that we can bring them into the agricultural sector so that the young people do not see the formal employment sector as their only home." 

Johanna Amakali is the chief agriculture scientific officer in the ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform. 

"We implement good agricultural practices, we look at the whole value change, from the time of planting up to the time it reaches the table of the  consumer, so we do regular monitoring to our farmers, we advise them accordingly and the products we have not had anything health related when it comes to our farmers." 

The parliamentary delegation will also visit a number of commercial farms to learn from their successes and implement some of the good practices on government-owned farms. 



Natangwe Jimmy