The University of Namibia has inked a hallmark partnership with the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), committing both institutions towards the goals of achieving food self-sufficiency and economic growth.
This collaboration stems from the numerous challenges brought on by Namibia’s arid landscape which impedes not only economic development, but threatens the security of food within the borders.
This memorandum of understanding focuses on collaborative research work, student development and the development of programmes at the University of Namibia, to suit the knowledge and skills required for NAB and the entire agronomic and horticulture industry in Namibia.
This partnership is primarily aimed to enhance local production, processing, preservation, storage and marketing of both controlled and non-controlled agronomic and horticulture crops.
Crucial to this agreement is the component of research, that will cut across three key areas being seed research and production, in which a variety of seed will be tested in the Namibian terrain.
Furthermore, attention will also be given to pest and disease research with regards to both agronomic and horticultural products. Research related to marketing, value addition and storage of agronomic and horticulture products will be conducted throughout the duration of this agreement.
Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Simon Angombe, expressed great excitement towards the signing of this MOU. “We are excited about this collaboration. It will give us a chance to solve Namibian problems with Namibian expertise”, said Dr Angombe.
Prof. Rhoda Birech, also from the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, announced UNAM’s readiness and what has been done to prepare for this project. “UNAM kick started this collaboration with seed research and production. The research has commenced with powder millets (Mahangu) and soon 24 varieties of seeds will follow suit. These seeds will be tested in 4 regions on land that UNAM has allocated” she explained
Dr. Fidelis Nyambe Mwazi, the Chief Executive Director of NAB, explained that the financial contribution from NAB will contribute to the success of this project. “NAB commits to make a financial contribution of 70%, commencing with N$500,000.00. In so doing, I believe that NAB will leverage world class knowledge and solutions to the agronomic and horticulture industry from this comprehensive partnership with UNAM” said Dr Mwazi.
UNAM’s Vice Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu expressed great delight towards the establishment of this MOU. “As a university, we are mandated to produce human resources, as well as to contribute to the greater development agenda of the country. This MOU helps us to fulfill that mandate and we are proud to do that with NAB”, remarked Matengu.