2014 has been a good year for mahangu crops in Namibia. The country has enjoyed good rain which has enabled mahangu farmers to plant crops with the aim of harvesting very good yields compared with the previous year. Evaluations were done of the top mahangu growers of the season in the seven crop growing regions in Namibia; Zambezi, Kavango, Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati and a worthy recipient of the National Grand Champion and the Grand Champion titles have been decided. This year, no nominations were received from the Otjozondjupa Region.
The winners of the titles were officially announced at the National Mahangu Field Day that was held at the crop field of the selected Overall National Mahangu Grand Champion for 2014 at Oshamakaka Farm, belonging to Mr Pinehas Nambandi. Oshamakaka Farm is near Omaimbi Village in Nehale LyaMpingana Constituency, Oshikoto Region. The event was attended by the Honourable Penda Ya Ndakolo, Governor of the Oshikoto Region, Councillors, Local Traditional Leaders, fellow farmers & staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in each of the participating regions, millers, the Chairperson of the National Mahangu Advisory Committee (NMAC), the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA), local political leaders and staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in Windhoek. The purpose of having the National Mahangu Field Day on the farm of the winning producer is so that farmers and stakeholders could interact and learn from each other, share information on different skills, knowledge and technologies used so that farmers can use that information to improve their own farming practices with the aim of becoming the future Overall National Mahangu Grand Champion.
The process of selecting these champions is very thorough. First, the process happens at constituency level, where farmers are identified for nomination by an agricultural technician. Once nominated, farmers are visited by a Regional Team that comprises representatives from AMTA, technicians of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and representatives from their Farmer’s Union. Once all nominated farmers have been assessed at constituency level, one farmer will be selected to represent the region. The criteria for this is varied and includes assessing the different areas of farming such as crop management which includes weed management, how well the available space is optimised for producing maximised yield per hectare, the quality of the crop, how detailed and comprehensive their record keeping is, their labour management, how mechanised their operation is and how well all of these elements combine to produce surplus grain that can be sold to local millers for commercial processing and a cash income for farmers. Farmers are encouraged through this process to maximise their crop yield so that a contribution can be made by our own producers toward food security in the Republic of Namibia.
Altogether, 12 farmers will receive recognition for their efforts of producing maximum crop yields in their regions. Regional Champion Awards are awarded to 6 farmers – one in each producing region – who cultivate between 5ha and 10ha have the resources to implement improved technologies and techniques and produce an average of between 0.8 and 1.2 ton/ha. These producers are also in a position to sell a portion of their surplus grain into the commercial supply chain. The winners in this category are:
|Ms. Catherine SIKANDA||Kabbe||Kabbe North||Zambezi|
|Mr. Thiremo THIKERETE||Ghamarao||Mukwe||Kavango East|
|Ms. Veronikwa HANGA||Oshipala||Omundaungilo||Ohangwena|
|Mr. Marius SHETUNYENGA||Onakankunzi West||Omuthiya||Oshikoto|
|Mr. David AMKWIITA||Opeleka||Okatjali||Oshana|
|Mr. Andreas SHAANIKA||Elondo West||Onesi||Omusati|
The remaining 7 producers stand a chance of qualifying for the Overall Grand National Champion title. Farmers who produce mahangu in this category cultivate an area of more than 10ha, run a semi commercialised farming operation and have the resources to hire labour and produced an average of 1.2 tons/ ha. These producers are also prepared to market or sell 50% or more of their harvest into commercial supply chain of mahangu. The winners in this category are:
|Mr. Christopher KASUKA||Kasheshe||Sibbinda||Zambezi|
|Mr. Lukas MBANGU||Katjinakatji||Mankumpi||Kavango West|
|Ms. Hendrina DAVID||Ekoka||Okongo||Ohangwena|
|Mr. Pinehas NAMBANDI||Oshamakaka||Nehale LyaMpingana||Oshikoto|
|Mr. Shigwedha SHINYEMBA||Oshitowa||Oshakati West||Oshana|
|Mr. Heikki AMAKALI||Onandjandja||Onesi||Omusati|