Agri experts trained in Zambia
The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) and the University of Namibia (Unam) have embarked on a seed trial research project in various crop production zones in the country.
This stems from a memorandum of understanding, which was signed in 2020.
According to NAB spokesperson Auguste Fabian, the primary aim of this collaboration is to cultivate high-quality seed varieties that exhibit outstanding adaptability to the diverse soil and climatic conditions of Namibia while also showcasing an unprecedented potential for increased yields.
She said to further enhance the implementation of the project, a delegation of agriculture experts, comprising researchers, technicians and project coordinators from the two institutions, undertook training in areas of breeding, production, cultivation, storage and processing of high-quality seed varieties in Lusaka, Zambia.
The training was initiated following a comprehensive needs assessment.
Fabian said the assessment aimed to identify specific training requirements for the NAB-Unam research project staff engaged in seed trials while offering project coordinators a comprehensive understanding of the seed production value chain and the seed sector.
“The training programme in Zambia encompassed a blend of classroom instruction and field observations strategically designed to facilitate more in-depth and hands-on learning.”
She said its primary objective was to provide trainees with comprehensive exposure to diverse agricultural practices, including the production, breeding, and processing of high-quality seed varieties.
Additionally, the programme delved into seed multiplication and marketing for key crops such as white maize, soya beans, sunflower, wheat, and sorghum within the Zambian agricultural system.
The training was conducted primarily by SeedCo and ZamSeed, both reputable corporations with significant seed production and multiplication expertise in Zambia.
Fabian said the programme covered various essential topics, including meticulous planning and execution to combat crop pests and diseases, best practices for the identification and management of such issues, precise data capture, analysis, and meticulous record-keeping for crop trials, crop growth staging techniques, and effective crop management strategies to foster optimal growth and development, among other pertinent subjects.
In addition, the delegation also conducted courtesy visits to institutions such as the Zambian Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI), Synergy, and the Agri-Tech Expo Zambia 2023. This provided them with networking opportunities, allowing them to engage with and discuss possible future collaborations with other agricultural professionals and experts in the field.
NAB said Namibia is currently at the infancy stage in terms of seed production and multiplication technology, adding to the significance of the training programme in enhancing and capacitating Namibia’s agricultural experts.
Fabian said the training allowed them to explore innovative agricultural solutions that can be implemented in Namibia while staying updated on the latest trends and advancements in agricultural technology and practices. Upon successful completion of the training, the trainees were awarded certificates to acknowledge their achievement and proficiency.