Dying orchards disturb SPYL

The objective of the tree-planting projects was to plant fruit trees on a trial basis to assess their viability in open grasslands in the Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto regions.

11 January 2019 | Agriculture

Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Ephraim Nekongo has expressed his disappointment over the agriculture ministry terminating the contracts of about 200 workers at 56 state orchards in the north.

Nekongo said after reading a Namibian Sun article about the dying orchards, he contacted agriculture permanent secretary Percy Misika, who told him the workers' contracts ended in 2017 and that the ministry had been extending them.

Towards the end of last year the ministry dismissed the workers, which resulted in the trees being neglected and stripped of their fruit by locals.

The tree-planting projects were launched in 2003 and had created hundreds of jobs.

The objective was to plant fruit trees on a trial basis to assess their viability in open grasslands in the Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto regions.

Nekongo said the SPYL is organising an engagement meeting with the agriculture ministry to make sure that the orchards are revived and that taxpayers' money is not wasted.

“In my view I think the directorate failed, because they have been just extending the workers' contracts without making any arrangements as to what will happen after terminating their contracts.

“If the ministry knew that they could not afford to run these projects, at least it was supposed to groom the workers or community members so that they can take over after their contracts ended. What happened is very disappointing,” Nekongo said.

He strongly believes that the orchard workers or community members can utilise the projects in their areas to generate their own income.

He said that the idea of creating these orchards was a good one, but the community was supposed to create them. Nekongo added that according to the information at his disposal there has been no financial accountability in terms of the income generated from selling the fruit.

“I am told that the affected workers are 164 and this is a lot of people. What we will do, we will engage the ministry and communities where these projects are with hopes that there are a few individuals in these communities who will be willing to take over these projects while the ministry is grooming and empowering them.

“Workers who were taking care of these projects can assist communities to take over the project. I know that we are running out of time as I have been told that some of the trees are already drying up; we would like to fast-track this process as soon as possible,” Nekongo said.

Last year Misika told Namibian Sun that the tree-planting was progressing well, even though the trees are reliant on regular watering and good rainfall.

According to Misika in 2014/15, 13 tonnes of mangoes, four tonnes of guavas, 1.5 tonnes of lemons and 0.24 tonnes of oranges were produced, which generated N$89 423.

During 2015/16, 10 tonnes of mangoes, 0.72 tonnes of guavas, three tonnes of lemons and 0.6 tonnes of oranges were produced and N$65 993 was generated.

In 2016/17 they harvested 17.3 tonnes of mangoes, two tonnes of guavas, 5.2 tonnes of lemons and 0.73 tonnes of oranges, generating N$120 405.

Misika said at the time that the ministry would develop management plans for the state orchards and planned to enter into partnerships with other institutions such as the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA), for the selling and processing of the fruit.

He added that the ministry was also considering entering into public-private partnerships to manage the orchards.

Lemon, mango and guava trees are suitable for the area but frost and a lack of water are limiting factors. Mangoes seem to have the best local market in northern Namibia.


Similar News


Agri continues to create employment

1 day - 19 June 2019 | Agriculture

Despite the disastrous conditions that the agriculture sector in Namibia is facing due to the drought, it has created employment opportunities while other sectors within...

Agribank's top brass meet with Utoni

1 day - 19 June 2019 | Agriculture

A delegation from the Agribank board and the bank's CEO, Sakaria Nghikembua recently met with land reform minister Utoni Nujoma as part of the bank's...

Opoloyeka yomakaya ya pewa omulilo omuzizi

1 day - 19 June 2019 | Agriculture

Omukwatakanithi gwongundu yoSwapo mOshitopolwa shaShikoto, Armas Amukwiyu okwa popi kutya opoloyeka yongushu yobiliyona yimwe yokulonga omakaya moshitopolwa shaZambezi otayi nyanwa omolwa uuyelele wa puka...

Opoloyeka yomakaya ya pewa omulilo omuzizi

2 days ago - 18 June 2019 | Agriculture

KENYA KAMBOWEOmukwatakanithi gwongundu yoSwapo mOshitopolwa shaShikoto, Armas Amukwiyu okwa popi kutya opoloyeka yongushu yobiliyona yimwe yokulonga omakaya moshitopolwa shaZambezi otayi nyanwa omolwa uuyelele wa...

Tobacco project lights up

6 days ago - 14 June 2019 | Agriculture

Years after Swapo's Oshikoto coordinator Armas Amukwiyu and his Chinese partners first started pushing for a N$1 billion tobacco project in the Zambezi Region, cabinet...

Green light for tobacco project

6 days ago - 13 June 2019 | Agriculture

Armas Amukwiyu’s controversial tobacco project in the Zambezi Region has been approved by cabinet on Tuesday. The company, Namibia Oriental Tobacco, belongs to Oshikoto Swapo...

Workshop for farmers held at Epukiro

1 week ago - 12 June 2019 | Agriculture

In an effort to support farmers, the Eastern Epukiro Farmers Association (EEFA) in conjunction with Agribank held a weeklong workshop in the Epukiro constituency in...

AMTA opens mahangu stores

1 week ago - 10 June 2019 | Agriculture

Inhabitants of Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto will get locally produced mahangu as part of the government's drought relief programme.The Agro-Marketing and Trading Agency (AMTA)...

AMTA a ninguluka kombinga yokondalaka yaFysal

1 week ago - 07 June 2019 | Agriculture

Ehangano lyoAgro-Marketing Trading Agency (AMTA) olya gandja ishewe okondalaka yomweedhi ndatu koFysal Fresh Produce opo a longele mendiki lye lyomalandithilo mOngwediva, ihe AMTA...

U-turn on Fysal, Namsov out

2 weeks ago - 06 June 2019 | Agriculture

The Agro-Marketing Trading Agency (AMTA) has given Fysal Fresh Produce another three-month contract to operate from its Ongwediva fresh-produce hub, but could not save a...

Latest News

Katjavivi breaks silence on Nust

12 hours ago | Education

The turmoil at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) has taken another turn with the university's chancellor and National Assembly speaker, Dr Peter...

Ndeitunga flaunts Kalahari successes

12 hours ago | Crime

Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga has flaunted the successes of Operation Kalahari Desert, saying 871 suspects have been arrested including for murder, attempted murder, rape, serious...

Oncologist tusk case postponed

12 hours ago | Justice

The matter involving renowned Windhoek oncologist Dr Thomas John Brown van Wyk, who was arrested for the alleged illegal possession of three elephant tusks, has...

Killing dreams

12 hours ago | Opinion

The school sport fraternity has rightfully greeted the news that there will be no government financial assistance when it comes to international participation with a...

Congo general awarded N$12m settlement

12 hours ago | Justice

Congolese general Francois Olenga was awarded a settlement of US$850 000 (N$12 350 500 at yesterday's exchange rate) by the High Court of Namibia on...

Fresh water could turn hepatitis...

12 hours ago | Health

Unless the lack of clean running water and toilets within informal settlements is tackled urgently, the 19-month tide of hepatitis E infections across the country...

Namibia on its way to...

12 hours ago | Fishing

STAFF REPORTER The first public consultative meeting of the inter-ministerial blue economy committee will take place today. The meeting will be take place at the...

Union, MMI cement relationship

12 hours ago | Labour

MMI Holdings Limited (MMI) yesterday formally recognised the Namibian Bank Workers Union (NBWU) through the signing of a recognition agreement. MMI Holdings Namibia interim group...

Schools no place for political...

12 hours ago | Education

The education executive director Sanet Steenkamp has called on the public to refrain from using schools for gatherings, campaigns and fundraising activities for political gain.In...

Load More