Namibia: Agriculture Ministry to Revive Orchards

3 December 2019

Omuthiya — Several orchard projects under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in the Oshikoto region are in a beleaguered state, as plants have wilted, while workers have abandoned the site, which is now left at the mercy of community volunteers.

About nine orchards are affected across the region, with the worst being that in Omuthiya where water was cut off by the town council but has since been reconnected, New Era is informed.

The once-flourishing orchards, which were sought to be a closer source of fruit supplies, have been in stutters for the past few years for the obvious reason of "no money."

According to the ministry's forester in Oshikoto Monika Amutenya, the projects have struggled to live up, as there is no money for the upkeep. Hence, many of the projects are now on the mercy of the community, who have taken it upon themselves to water the plants and do a bit of maintenance where possible.

"We are waiting for the ministry to pronounce itself on the operation of these orchards because as it stands, there is no money for it. Until then, we will know the way forward. The workers left because there was no money to pay them," briefly stated Amutenya.

Furthermore, she said the Omuthiya project is worse, as it is in townland, and its water has been cut off; hence, volunteers cannot do much because there is no water at all.

Akwilinus Hinananye, also a forester at Onankali, said they are on the path to revive the orchard to serve its purpose. Right now, it is left in the management of the community, who also benefit by making gardens and reaping from the fruits, he said. Adding that the ministry is devising an operational management plan.

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