Master agronomist crowned
08 May 2019 | Agriculture
It has been customary since 1995 for the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) to annually bestow this prestigious award on an exceptional grain farmer.
The event was hosted in collaboration with Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) under the theme 'Effective Agronomy Management'.
According to NAB's manager for white maize and wheat, Antoinette Pritzen, the award is presented to a farmer who is not necessarily evaluated on the size of their harvest, but rather on practising an exceptional innovative scientific approach, good risk diversification, good labour relations and community involvement.
Van der Merwe started farming with maize in 2007 when he bought the Ludwigshaven plot. For this year alone he planted maize on 42 hectares of land, all under irrigation, with an expected average yield of approximately 12 tonnes per hectare.
He planted two varieties of maize and is also facilitating eight other trial varieties on behalf of Agra. In addition to that, he practices the crop rotation technique in order to enhance soil fertility and crop yield.
Apart from maize, Van der Merwe is also a well-known horticulture farmer and says that he and his team hand-planted potatoes on five hectares of land in just nine hours.
Van der Merwe currently employs 22 full-time workers, of which 13 are females and nine are males, and he hopes to expand his operations to offer more job opportunities in the near future.
“In order to harvest better yields successfully, you need to provide your plants with quality water and nutrient inputs as well as manage a quality staff component,” said Van der Merwe.