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Other Articles from The Villager

Farmers complete training in OPWM course

Mon, 1 August 2016 16:41
by Rodney Pienaar


A group of farmers in the country have recently completed a training course that will equip them with skills to take a more holistic attitude that acknowledges the importance of soil and that understands how to work with it to improve soil and their crop yields.
The 16 famers that enrolled for Organic Pest and Weed Management (OPWM)  successfully completed the training  course that teaches how to effectively and organically deal with pest and weeds.
The course is aimed at farmers that want to grow organic food and manage soil.
Soil management is all interventions done regarding gardens and farm soil such as mulching, organic fertilization with compost, cover cropping and reduced or no soli tilling and the course forms part of a series of four courses that teaches farmers and gardeners the basics for establishing and running abundant food gardens and unmanaged soil.
According to the trainer Fabian von Hase, the benefit of this course is that it gives participants an immersive look into the working of the soil, so that their understanding can be the foundation for better management in their gardens or on their farms.
“The course is rooted in the organic approach and therefore provides many benefits over soil-mining techniques of conventional chemical-based agriculture, not least being a better profit margin due to reduced input costs,” von Hase said.
He added that it is absolutely essential for gardeners and farmers to understand and work for instead of against their soil if they wish to be successful. This course teaches exactly that by providing participants with hands-on methods for improving their soil.
The course shows farmers that an attitude of leaving the soil bare and not understanding it and caring for it is dangerous to their livelihoods.
There has been a big demand for these courses so far, demonstrating that Namibians have really woken up to domestic food production and up skilling themselves and their employees for this purpose
It equips them with a more holistic attitude that acknowledges the importance of soil and that understands how to work with it to improve soil and their crop yields.
 It is basically a change from a conventional destructive approach to an organic constructive one. The soil management course forms part of a series of four topics, The Villager learnt.
“They focus on the organic approach and these four topics are the basis for more advanced courses in Permaculture that will be offered in the coming months.  Although the courses are designed to build on each other they can also be done as stand-alone courses. Farmers and gardeners can take part in only one or more of them,” von Hase said.
He added, that the entire series will be repeated later this year for farmers that do not understand and want to redo the course.
The course fee is N$550 per person and the course is a part of series of four courses that form a unit and can also be separated. Series of the four courses include organic pest management, composting, soil management and vegetable starter.