THE production of fodder with hydroponics on a small scale and the modalities by which such operations would be financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) in conjunction with the treasury has been approved by Cabinet.
The modalities for financing the non-mechanised small scale production of fodder by way of hydroponics approved by cabinet includes a once off 50 percent subsidy on the cost of construction of a small scale production unit as well as a 50 percent subsidy on the cost of seeds to start such an operation up. The seeds will be subsidised on bags costing a maximum of N$190 until the end of March 2020.
The proposed criteria for the selection of farmers participating in the production scheme have also been approved.
All trained communal; emerging; resettled and commercial farmers will qualify for the subsidy after going through a selection process. The number of farmers per region will however be limited to 500 per region which means that 7 000 farmers will be able to participate in the scheme.
Small scale fodder production with hydroponics was identified as an urgent intervention to mitigate the effects of the devastating drought on people and their livestock.
During September the agriculture ministry was given one month to develop comprehensive business models for the operation of the various green-schemes to start with the production of fodder for livestock.
With regards to mechanised hydroponic production systems the MAWF presented a research based proposal to cabinet during its 17th decision making meeting.
In this regard the acquisition a mechanised hydroponic facility that will be used as a pilot project at a Green Scheme at the cost of N$1 871 094 was also approved by Cabinet.
This was done because a dire need exists to create fodder production capacity at the various Green Schemes and in this regard Cabinet supported proposals to increase the fodder production capacity at the government run agriculture projects.
Earlier in October cabinet approved a plan and financing to dedicate 30 percent of the areas under irrigation at the Green Schemes for the planting of fast growing crops such as barley, sorghum and oats.
In this regard N$33 198 000 from the National Disaster Fund have been made available to Agribusdev to go ahead with the various projects. Of this amount N$10 445 827 have already been paid to Agribusdev to plant fast growing crops that can be used as emergency fodder.