Namibia: Uvhungu-Vhungu Green Scheme Defying Financial and Climate Odds

Rundu — Government's Uvhungu-Vhungu green scheme, some 10km east of Rundu along the Rundu-Divundu gravel road, is thriving despite the financial and climatic challenges it faces.

This is according to its parent company, Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev). "In agriculture you fall, you stand, you fall and you stand again. We are not down and out," said Uvhungu-Vhungu project manager Mavuto Mwanza.

The project currently has 296 hectares (ha) under irrigation. The commercial side of the field has 140 ha of maize production, with 24 ha allocated to maize production by small-scale irrigation farmers.

"There's also wheat on 115 hectares, potatoes on five hectares, sweet potatoes on five hectares and cabbages also on five hectares - and we also have carrots on one hectare and tomatoes on 0.5 hectare. Then we have rape (rapeseed),and green peppers, both on 0.25 hectare each," Mwanza added.

Mwanza says green scheme projects need support from everyone in order to prosper.

"Falling down in farming is the nature of our business, I think it happens more often in agriculture than in any other business because at any time you can be attacked by pests, like we had been attacked by the fall army worm during these previous years and that can have devastating outcomes," he added.

"The drought also affects farming and as for this past season, or sometimes, you sell your produce and you don't get paid on time; it also affects your cashflow, let alone the price which is determined by the person who is buying your produce, which is a scenario for most agriculture products," he said.

Agriculture is not for the faint-hearted, the project manager emphasises. "We have crops of good quality that will soon be on the market and I must say we managed despite the challenges we face. The situation made us develop new ways to survive in hard conditions. And we have the support of those who understand us, like government and suppliers including financial institutions that helped our small-scale farmers and so on."

"However, it's not only financial support that we need but even advice to help us get out of our problems. We have moved out of the ICU (intensive care unit), but we are not yet fully on our feet and thus we are still devising plans for repositioning, realignment and reorganisation to ensure sustainability of the project," he said.

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