Swakopmund project harvests its first produce

Sharlien Tjambari

To promote urban agriculture by encouraging the residents to produce their own food, stimulate food insecurity and economic growth, the Swakopmund Municipality initiated the Urban Agricultural Project on Wednesday. The first produce was harvested from the greenhouse garden which is located at the Swakopmund Municipal Nursery.

According to Robeam Ujaha, the Environmental Health Practitioner – Health Services who oversees the project, the project was launched last year in August, “Today we are here to witness this milestone where we are harvesting. This project was initiated by council as part of council’s strategic plan for urban agriculture as one of the pillars.”
Ujaha said they have 30 beneficiaries benefiting from this project.
According to Ujaha, the first phase of the project, the greenhouse, was sponsored by council. The second phase which will kick-off soon is sponsored by the UNDP under the Japanese embassy.
Ujaha further said: “We are very happy to witness these fruits and vegetables being harvested. It is the work, effort, time and results of the committed beneficiaries.” According to Ujaha, the major challenge they face with the project is the fact that the beneficiaries are unemployed and the moment they get a stable job they leave the project, thus leaving a gab, but in most cases when a beneficiary falls out, they go back to the applicants who are on the waiting list and see who is available and who can fill in. “But with the commitment of the current group, I think we will remain with them for quite a while until we get this project in full swing. We want to reach our market, we want to sell to our local retailers,” added Ujaha.
Ujaha said the project was inspired by Covid-19, when many people were retrenched and were benefiting from the Mayor’s Office for food parcels, Council allegedly decided that it was time to start teaching the people of Swakopmund how to produce food with backyard gardening as the main idea. “With this project, we want to send a massage to the rest of the country that Namibia can become a food security country by using this smart agricultural concept and investing more time in it. I urge our community to support us, this coming Saturday we will be having an open market hear at the Swakopmund Municipal Nursery, you are welcome to bring your family, come harvest.
Abisai Nakalamba, a group leader and a member of the project committee said he joined the Urban Agricultural Project because of unemployment, he considers himself lucky to have been chosen as a beneficiary. Nakalamba said: “With this experience I hope to get a job and maybe one day I will have my own garden at home or ask for a plot somewhere. At the beginning of the project, I did not even know how to put a seed in the soil, but now I have acquired the necessary skills and gained knowledge.”

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