Oshipe

Oshipe celebrated in 2014

Oshipe

The National Mahangu Champions for 2014 were awarded their trophies, certificates and prizes during the National Mahangu Festival – Oshipe – held in Omuthiya on Saturday 23 August 2014. Recoginising and rewarding this year’s harvest held particular significance because of the devastating effects of the drought on the previous year’s crop. The purpose of the awards is to encourage producers to cultivate crops that will yield surplus grain that can be sold into the formal mahangu commercial trading environment. The event was initiated by the Namibian Agronomic Board as a modern Thanksgiving Festival and is also organised by them every year. Present at this very important occasion were the Hon. John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the Hon Lempy Lucas, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the Hon. Penda Ya Ndakolo, Governor of the Oshikoto Region, His Majesty the King of Ondonga, Tatekulu Kauluma, His Worship the Mayor of Omuthiya Town, Mr Nanyeni, the Hon Nekongo, Chair of the Oshikoto Regional Council. Representatives of the NNFU and Agribank were also present.

Speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the NAB, Ms Sirkka Iileka, Vice Chair said, “in 2002, a National Mahangu Festival – a modernised Thanksgiving Ceremony – was introduced by the NAB to give recognition to farmers who have implemented improved farming and cultivation methods to maximise their yield of mahangu.” In 2008, The NAB recommended to government that mahangu become a controlled crop, a status attained on 15 May 2008 by way of government gazette no. 109. This mandate contributes to the development of the mahangu sector by ensuring that no permits for the import or export of mahangu into the Republic of Namibia is permitted until the total local surplus harvest is sold. The move guarantees a free market within Namibian borders during which time mahangu is marketed and sold in line with a production cost related floor price for the year. The initiative also encourages farmers to increase their production of mahangu so that more can be sold into the formal trading value chain of this staple grain, contributing toward food security. By ensuring that all local surplus production is first absorbed by registered millers of mahangu before import permits are issued, the NAB fulfils its mandate to the mahangu producing sector of creating a marketing environment that is conducive to growing and processing of the mahangu crops in Namibia.

During his keynote address, the Hon John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry said of the mahangu producers, “The event we are witnessing today is a clear and visible manifestation of Namibian mahangu producers’ willingness to significantly and sustainably contribute to the improvement and wellbeing of both mahangu producers and consumers.” Acknowledging the achievements of each of the winners from the mahangu producing regions, the Hon Mutorwa went on to say, “These are the great mahangu farmers who have produced mahangu exceptionally well. To be selected, these farmers have been individually identified as having produced mahangu in sufficient quantities to meet both their household needs and the needs of the national mahangu market.” Before moving on to awarding each of the producers with their prizes, he added, “They are ambassadors for good farming practices in the communal crop farming system…keep producing surplus mahangu, especially now that you have the market for your produce and continue to be champions in the years to come.”
Prizes were awarded in two distinct categories. Category One recognises farmers who produce mahangu on more than 10 hectares, conduct operations that are semi commercial and mechanised, the resources to hire labour, yield an average of 1,2 tons per hectare and market 50% or more of their harvest. The Overall National Grand Mahangu Champion is awarded from this category. This year, 6 regional finalists were awarded for their efforts. They are:

Mr. Christopher Kasuka of Sibbinda Constitenucy in Zambezi Region;
Mr. Lukas Mbangu of Mankumpi Constituency in Kavango West;
Ms. Hendrina David of Okongo Constituency in Ohangwena Region;
Mr. Pinehas Nambani of Nehale LyaMpingana Constituency in Oshikoto Region;
Mr. Shigwedha Shinyemba of Oshakati West Constituency in Oshana Region; and,
Mr. Heikki Amakali of Onesi Constituency in Omusati Region.
Each received the following prizes:

Certificate & Trophy from the NAB;
N$ 700.00 from the Namibian Grain Processors Association (NGPA);
1 small Silo and N$ 1000.00 from Agribank; and,
N$ 340.00 from the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA).
The Overall National Grand Mahangu Champion for 2014 is Mr. Pinehas Nambani of Nehale LyaMpingana Constituency in Oshikoto Region. In addition to the above, Mr Nambandi also received:

A voucher to the value of N$ 10 000.00 from the NAB for buying agricultural equipment;
N$ 2 000.00 from the NGPA;
N$ 5 000.00 and 2 big silos from Agribank; and,
N$ 1 000.00 from AMTA.

Category Two recognised farmers who cultivate between five and 10 hectares, have the resources to implement improved technologies and farming techniques, produce between .8 hectares and 1.2 tons per hectare and up to 50% of their harvest. As with the previous category, 6 regional finalists are awarded. They are:

Ms. Catherine Sikanda of Kabbe North Constituency in Zambezi Region;
Mr. Thiremo Thikerete of Mukwe Constituency in Kavango East;
Ms. Veronikwa Hanga of Omundaungilo Constituency in Ohangwena Region;
Mr. Marius Shetunyenga of Omuthiya Constituency in Oshikoto Region ;
Mr. David Amkwiita of Okatjali Constituency in Oshana Region; and,
Mr. Andreas Shaanika of Onesi Constituency in Omusati Region.

Each regional finalist received the following prizes:

Certificate & Trophy from the NAB;
N$ 700.00 from the NGPA;
N$ 500.00 from the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU);
1 small Silo and N$ 1000.00 from Agribank; and,
N$ 340.00 from AMTA.

The Overall National Mahangu Champion for 2014 is Mr. Thiremo Thikerete of Mukwe Constituency in Kavango East. He also received:

A voucher to the value of N$ 5 000.00 from the NAB to buy agricultural equipment;
N$ 1000.00 from the NGPA;
N$ 3000.00 and 1 big silo from Agribank; and,
N$ 600.00 from AMTA.
Traditionally, Oshipe is a thanksgiving ceremony giving thanks to God for the produce from a harvest cycle as a result of good rain.

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