National Youth Council (NYC) ||Kharas regional coordinator, Brandy Lufuma has said the youth self-employment horticulture project at Keetmanshoop still has the potential to address unemployment and food security in the town once it expands.
Launched by Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero nearly three years ago, the project has been unable to increase its volume to address the issue of unemployment among the youth and food security.
The project is aimed at ensuring food security and increasing productivity, skills enhancement, and generating income for youth in peri-urban and rural areas, by testing cost-effective and scalable market-based solutions to strengthen micro-entrepreneurship opportunities.
In an interview with Nampa recently, Lufuma said currently cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, spring onions, red onion and chillies are planted in the garden and it is managed by four young volunteers.
According to her once expanded, the project could supply the inhabitants of Keetmanshoop and the region, however, the expansion is hindered by factors such as illegal harvesting by community members.
“This project will be successful if community members do not illegally harvest from our garden. When they see it’s green, they come at night and harvest, because they can see through the net,” she said.
Lufuma further noted that earlier this year when the group harvested their yield, they discovered that the soil in the garden was deteriorating. A decision was made to replace the soil, which involved removing the existing sand to expose it to sunlight for vitamin D replenishment.
“We also got new black bags and seeds from head office so we planted new plants and we implemented pest control measures,” said Lufuma.
Lufuma anticipates a harvest within the next month and said any profits generated from sales would directly benefit the volunteers. Even in scenarios where produce remains unsold, the yield would be distributed among the volunteers to promote self-sustainability.
The Ministry of Sport through its subsidiaries, the National Youth Service (NYS) and National Youth Council (NYC) availed N.dollars 1 million to set up greenhouses for horticultural production in all 14 regions.
NYS set up the greenhouse structure while NYC is responsible for the green scheme and overseeing the agricultural production.
Source: The Namibian Press Agency