The Namibian (Windhoek)

13 December 2012

Namibia: Ploughing Assistance for Crop-Growing Regions

THE Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has announced the type of assistance that will be provided to rural crop-farming communities for the 2012/2013 growing season.

Farmers will be helped to prepare their fields, plough and plant.

The regions that will benefit from the programme are Oshikoto, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Kunene, Kavango, Caprivi, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke.

Minister John Mutorwa said the ministry normally provides support to farmers in order to increase their harvests for the purpose of food security at household level.

Mutorwa said the ministry had procured a total of 75 tractors, 35 walking tractors and implements, 75 disk harrows, 27 ploughs, 75 planters and 34 trailers for distribution to the identified crop-growing regions.

About 349 tons of fertiliser was delivered, N$2 million was set aside for ploughing services, N$1 million for weeding services and N$1 million for seed subsidies.

Land preparation subsidies will also be given to those farmers ploughing with private tractors for which the ministry will pay N$200 per hectare.

For ripping, planting or fertilising with government tractors, the government is subsidising the farmers with N$150 per hectare

The assistance will be provided for a maximum three hectares per household and a 50% subsidy will be given for all seeds.

However, constituency councillors of Okongo and Eenhana said there is only one tractor available for each constituency, which will not be enough. They called on farmers to keep using donkeys and oxen to plough their fields.

Some councillors also complained about the unreliability of government tractors and the long time it takes to repair them because of bureaucratic red tape.

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