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Farmers Day Game changer to attain food security

24 Apr 2024

Adapting to best farming practices to produce thriving agricultural enterprises is key in an ever changing agricultural landscape.

Embracing change is crucial for farmers and their agility can help them stay competitive and sustain the productivity of their operations.

These are wise words echoed by a passionate farmer, Mr Keikabile Keemekae of Gumare village in the Okavango district during an interview appreciating that hosting Ngamiland Farmers Field Day was the main tool to spark interest and conversation with agriculture experts.

The event was organized by North West Integrated Farmers’ Association (NWIFA).

The event, he said was indeed a game changer towards the attainment of food security, citing that it was informative, and that farmers learnt improved agricultural practices and techniques to use to increase production.

Hearing experiences first hand from producers applying the techniques and being able to see them in action, he said were excellent outreach tools and he thanked Ngamiland Farmers Field Day and commended NWIFA for hosting such a historic and successful event.

“This is the best education we have been yearning for and I salute the organizers and the sponsors for such as brilliant activity which is inline with the government aspiration to revive the agriculture sector.

I wish it could be included in district calendar of events because it offers enormous benefits to the farming community,” he said in an interview.

Mr Keemekae owns a farm some 12 kilometres in the outskirt of the village and he was one of the exhibitors at the event where he showcased some of his quality bulls comprising of limosin and he acknowledged that the initiative not only to encourages land cultivation and steps to succeed in cattle framing but also promoted the cultivation of crops resilient to drought and heat, essential for agricultural sustainability.

He called for continuity of the historical event saying it was an eye opener to many fellow farmers as it brought well established farmers, small and medium scale and beginners together with experts to get first hand and practical information they may use to plan and enhance their own operations.

The event brought together a networking environment between farmers and agricultural professionals who introduced new technologies, techniques, farming equipment so that the audience could see how they could be practically used and applied.

He is of the view that the attendees had learnt a lot and would adopt the techniques they were interested in going forward, noting that the event accorded the farming community an opportunity to meet and partner with fellow area farmers and share best systems and techniques to help make their farms successful.

The event, Mr Keemekae said some members of the community owned chunks of agricultural land but they could not utilize it sustainable to diversify within the agricultural sector because they lacked motivation and believed that activities such as Farmers Field Day could motivate them to change their mindset towards farming and ensure optimal use of the land to ensure adequate food production.

A horticulture farmer, Ms Gaotshwarwe Otimile of Maun also appreciated activities like Farmers Field Day saying they have the potential to stimulate the agricultural sector considering the fact that they were production focused.

Field days, she said were unique as they give farmers participating an opportunity to showcase the results of the new practices they have adopted, while fellow farmers were encouraged to observe and get first-hand exposure to the results of the new practices.

Ms Otimile is a very enthusiastic farmer with an immense interest in utilising modern techniques of cultivation into her farm. She owns a 14 hectare farm at Mawana village some 20km from Maun where she cultivates vegetables; lettuce, sweetcorn, strawberries, cauliflower and green pepper among others.

She is also one of the beneficiaries of the climate smart horticulture demonstration project implemented by OKACOM in collaboration with the ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security aimed to improve food security.

The project focuses on enhancing horticultural production in Maun/Okavango through climate-smart practices and linking horticultural production with the upmarket tourism value chain and other local markets.

“I appreciate efforts by NWIFA to initiate such a historic event which I believe can stimulate the spirit of farming in our district. Our district has fertile soils with plenty of underground water to enable various agricultural activities in the area,” said Ms Otimile.

He acknowledges that such events afforded other farmers to learn new things/methods to apply at their farms adding that the event helped address some pending issues that hinders them to operate sustainable businesses and they were able to benchmark from others.

The event, she said also help with marketing adding that local farmers’ were making efforts to ensure continuous and adequate supply of vegetables to meet the national demand, but market has remained a challenge.

Another farmer, Mr Moses Makata of Betsha village concurred that events like Farmers Field Day were a way to go because they provided platforms for farmers to learn new things and change the way they had been doing their business.

Farmers ability to adapt and innovate, he said was crucial for their own livelihoods and for ensuring food security.

He appreciated that some farmers responded positively to government’s plea to take agriculture seriously and ensure food availability following the devastating effects of COVID 19 pandemic.

“Such field day events are valuable because they provide a platform for interaction between experts and farmers.

We learn best techniques and get practical information from agricultural experts to increase efficiency on our farms and I wish this event could be held yearly in different areas within our district to benefit more farmers,” he added. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : NOKANENG

Event : Interview

Date : 24 Apr 2024