Small-scale farmers should not rest on their laurels but aspire to become successful commercial producers in order to make a meaningful contribution to the economic growth of the country.
This was the advice of the managing director of Agribusdev, Petrus Uugwanga, when he spoke at a graduation ceremony for 30 small-scale irrigation farmers at the Mashare Irrigation Training Centre in Kavango East recently.
The ceremony was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry for farmers who completed their training in
July 2017, and was meant to prepare them for crop farming at government green schemes such as Etunda, Musese and Vungu Vungu.
Agribusdev has the mandate to managing and supervising the green scheme programme in Namibia on behalf of the ministry of agriculture to ensure that adequate food is produced by the green scheme for local consumption.
Uugwanga expressed happiness that the farmers had demonstrated their ability to manage bigger plots and they should therefore aim for higher levels of achievement.
"As you graduate today, I would like to tell you that this graduation was not imposed on you but that you chose to graduate because you all worked very hard."
Uugwanga explained that 10 of the farmers had graduated from overseeing work on six-hectare plots to 10 hectares while the other 20 farmers graduated from three-hectare plots to six hectares.
Uugwanga said nothing should stop the farmers from aspiring for higher levels and he wants to see the farmers graduate further to becoming substantive commercial producers.
"We wish you success in one day becoming commercial farmers so that we improve productivity in the country to make a meaningful contribution to national food security," he said.
Uugwanga encouraged farmers to be disciplined and work very hard and that they should give themselves time to learn and get practical experience.
Agriculture permanent secretary Percy Misika said the farmers were selected and trained so they are equipped with knowledge and skills to be able to use irrigated agriculture methodology to produce more food for the nation.
"You have entered the right industry as you cannot go wrong with producing food. There will always be more mouths to feed. The world is currently having 7,2 billion people and by 2050, the world population is expected to be 9,2 billion," he said.