Community Engagement through Precision Agriculture

The University of Namibia’s (UNAM) Sam Nujoma Campus is leading a community engagement project titled Precision Desert Agriculture as a Job Creator.  The project is being funded by the Southern Africa Innovation Support programme (SAIS). Within this project, UNAM is the grant recipient and is working in partnership with Avagro Sustainable Agriculture Solutions (and their flagship farm, Shalom, in Swakopmund) and a South African company Jayden Nashe Enterprises. As part of the project objectives, 10 Namibian graduates in Agriculture and Science from both UNAM and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) were selected, and they will undertake training for the next 6 – 8 months in Swakopmund and Henties Bay. The project was supposed to be over 18 months, but faced delays in start, due to Covid-19.

The training will involve the transfer of practical skills on controlled environment, horticultural crop production, hydroponics, drip irrigation and mushroom production. The 10 trainees will therefore undertake a full cycle from planting, media preparation, nursery management and experience the best practical skills in inter-cultural practices essential for horticultural crop production under controlled environments, market survey, record keeping, business plan development, as well as oyster and button mushroom production. The 10 trainees will be exposed to precision agriculture techniques, with experts from three counties (Israel, South Africa, and Namibia). The horticultural practical experience will be undertaken at Farm Shalom, whilst the mushroom aspect will happen at UNAM, Sam Nujoma Campus, Henties Bay. To date, the trainees have already undertaken an eight module inclusive innovation training offered by BoP Inc. from the Netherlands, where they have gained skills in creating innovative and bankable businesses ideas. The aim is to address both sustainable development goals and Namibia’s National Development Plan targets.

After completion of training, the trainees are expected to develop and pitch their business ideas on various platforms to secure investment into their initiatives, thus turning these graduate job seekers into job creators.

The group of trainees call themselves the Innovative Green Hands. https://youtu.be/L7UNWrk7ALU.

For more information on the project, please contact the project manager, Dr. Mupambwa at hmupambwa@unam.na; precisiondesertagriculture@gmail.com; phone 081 786 0758 or 064 502 600.

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About the Author: Simon Namesho

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