Every year, since 1995, the Namibian Agronomic Board has selected and awarded a Master Agronomist. This year the winners are Ebbi Fischer and his wife Heidi of the farm Okongeama near Hochfeld. At a well-attended function on the 6th April on the farm, which included the AGM of the Agronomic Producers’Association, the coveted trophy was handed over.
The annual award goes to a farmer who is not necessarily evaluated on the size of his harvest, but rather on practising an exceptional innovative scientific approach, good risk diversification, good labour relations and community involvement.
Ebbi Fischer told the assembled fellow-farmers that he only started farming in 1993, two years after his father passed away. Initially they farmed part-time and had a farm manager, but as from 2004 they farmed full-time.
He cultivates both under rainfed and under irrigation conditions and he practises crop rotation. Rainfed: maize rotated with legumes and feed-sorghum, while irrigation: maize with legumes and oats. This crop rotation improves the soil fertility and breaks the dissease cycle for the crops. His 6 year average rainfed maize yield, which includes some drought years, is 3,3 tons/ha (max 5,4 tons/ha) while his irrigation maize average is 11,3 tons/ha (max 12,4 tons/ha). They also cut grass (hay) to the tune of 800 tons p.a.
The Fischers also farm extensively with cattle and are involved in a Brahman stud.
The Namibian Agronomic Board also annually selects and awards:
The Zambesi Region Champion Maize Farmer
The Regional and National Mahangu Champion (in 2 categories)
The Mega Irrigation Master Producer
The National Horticulture Champion (in 3 categories)
The photos are courtesy of Agriforum and Ebbi Fischer