Annually, since 2004, the NBHF has celebrated entrepreneurs for contributing to the Namibian economy.
This year 2020, and its crisis situation of COVID 19, we intend to focus on honouring entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry. Agro-industry enterprises rose like mushrooms in and much effort has been put into focusing on food security in times of crises.
Namibia is the most arid country in Southern Africa, with very limited water available for crop production, making the country highly dependent on other countries for agricultural produce. Projects attempted mushroom production, hydroponics, drip irrigation, and greenhouse technologies to boost the yield and production of both leafy and fruit vegetables in the Namibian desert environment.
These technologies are very promising in arid Namibia as they result in a higher efficiency in terms of water use and higher yields of crop per unit area; they also result in reduced pesticide use and have a limited environmental footprint. Hydroponics projects made use of coconut husk- (coco-peat-) based media for planting. Doing so allows the planting of all vegetables, which is impossible under traditional hydroponic systems such as deep water culture or the nutrient film technique. Drip irrigation techniques were used to supply nutrients directly to the root zone based on the plant demand, and this will be automated, greatly optimising nutrient and water supply to the different vegetables.
The greenhouse technology will be used to protect the crops from external environments whilst allowing the crops to accumulate heat units (even in winter), thus promoting temperature-sensitive crops throughout the year. Mushroom production will exploit the cool Namibian coastal environment to allow for the production of this protein-rich product. Young agriculture graduates from Namibia were trained in high-tech desert agriculture techniques, thus turning them into agri-preneurs and job creators.
The year 2020, a memorable one will celebrate such entrepreneurs from Namibia and Zambia ensuing higher crop yields across harvests.