FARM Daweb, situated about five kilometres east of Maltahöhe in the Hardap region, is set to become an agribusiness hub growing premium quality fresh produce for local consumption, as well as export to neighbouring countries.
The resettlement farm was bought by the agriculture ministry in 2011, for N$10 million.
Initially the farm would have been converted into a guest farm featuring a convention and conference centre, however, these plans did not materialise.
Hardap regional governor Salomon April says there is a need to strengthen local basic food production systems to minimise the country's dependency on neighbouring South Africa, from which Namibia imports 80% of fruit and vegetables consumed in the country.
“We would like to see Daweb farm playing a key role in strengthening local production of nutritious food by smallholder farmers and the Daweb homestead. In this process we will be producing much-needed consumables for the country but also empowering our own local people with the skills and know-how to be in agribusinesses,” said April.
The farm will be managed by the Daweb Green Scheme Co-operative, which comprises 12 men and women. It has been registered, and an agreement has been signed with the Hardap Regional Council, who have been the custodians of Farm Daweb.
The expectation is to resettle members of the cooperative on the farm.
Their aim is to be recognised as one of the top horticulture producers, one that improves the standard of living for everyone involved.
With the assistance of the Japanese government through the United Nations Development Programme's urban agriculture project which strengthens food systems to the tune of N$1,9 million, the farmers have been clearing land, and testing the soil for the one hectare peppers and tomatoes being grown as a start.
Through this financing, the co-operative will also build a shade house, install a drip irrigation system, build an office block, packing and storage facilities, purchase tractors, protective clothing, solar security lights and secure fencing, among other items.
Director of planning, monitoring and evaluation at Hardap Regional Council Sima Luipert says this project is helping to develop local communal farmers to meet international standards.
Much emphasis is placed on the value chain – from soil development, to growing the right products, and storing and packaging them to meet international standards.
“Farm Daweb is positioned adequately to pilot sustainable food production. The project is also showing us that farmers can get together and commercialise their products and operate on a completely different level,” says Luipert.
Agricultural technician for Daweb constituency, Fabian Boys, says since the inception of the project farmers have been exposed to global best practices in the concept of establishing and developing co-operatives, sustainable farm management practices for small farmers, basic horticulture and conservation agriculture.
Last week they received training at Tsumis Agriculture farm on global food safety standards for exporting, best practices in agriculture and marketing, as well as risk management.
“These farmers have done a lot of work already to prepare themselves and the business for the aims they've set for themselves, which complements the efforts of the government. In the process they also employed 18 young people who assisted them with the initial work in the fields,” says Boys.
The Daweb Green Scheme Co-operative is in talks with the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency to source international markets for their produce.
Source : https://www.namibian.com.na/106246/read/Farm-Daweb-to-become-agribusiness-hub584