Farmers at Okovingava village in the Opuwo Urban constituency this week received gardening fencing material worth more than N$10 000 from the Protestant Unity Church, also known as the Oruuano church.
According to Bishop Wylie Vekarapo Upi, his church has been involved in addressing poverty, starvation and the provision of dwellings to the poor in the region as part of its moral responsibility.
Kunene is one of the regions hardest hit by the drought in recent years.
This is the second time the church came to the aid of Kunene farmers after donating lucerne bales and food parcels to drought-stricken farmers last year.
Bishop Upi said that these donations formed part of last year’s challenges of Covid-19 to help farmers cope with drought and to have enough food for the future.
“As you know over the last two years, we have been going through difficulties, especially challenges of the Covid-19 season, now we are trying to prepare ourselves for the future so that we can have enough food and be self-sustainable. Approximately 20 women have come together to start this project,” he said.
Upi said that the church has also supported various projects through the office of the prime minister in the past, while at the same time calling on other entities to level food parcel donations with ways of assisting the less fortune with self-sustainable projects, like community gardens, to help those in desperate poverty generate a self sustaining income that allows them to break the poverty cycle and help provide for their families.
“Sometimes we only give food to the people which lasts for shorter periods, so it is also better to donate or assist projects that will be self-sustainable that will help people to produce for themselves and their surroundings, “the bishop pleaded.
Magic Mburura, one of the beneficiaries, expressed his gratitude fir the generous donation, noting that they will be able to start the project soon, adding that . “We would like to assure our donor that the gardening project will be a serious undertaking for us. We expect our first harvest at the beginning of next year.”
Mean while, the ministry of poverty eradication last year drilled a borehole in the village to provide water for both gardening activities and livestock.
Bishop Upi, a seasoned farmer himself and Agribank’s Otjiwarongo branch manager, has advised farmers to diversify and expand their farming activities and not just rely on livestock only but to branch out to crop production as well.
“We are also trying to sensitise the community and the farmers to diversify farming from livestock farming or animal husbandry to crop production because gardening will help farmers become self-sufficient in food for themselves and their livestock as well,” he advised. “Gardens will also help to feed livestock through drought seasons, so we would like to motivate farmers and promote crop production and livestock diversification,” he added.
The man of the cloth called on other organisations to come on board to assist the government to uplift the living standards of the communities through corporate social responsibility practices while investing in crop production projects.