Albertus Viljoen, a Namibian farm manager and agricultural extension officer, is one of the many Namibians who are getting the technical experience and know how from Chinese experts.
Namibia, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and China signed a tripartite agreement on the South-South Cooperation (SSC) program in Namibia in 2014.
Through the program, small-scale farmers and agribusiness enterprises are benefiting directly through hands-on training and on-farm demonstrations.
Namibia was allocated 1.5 million U.S. dollars from China through the agreement, and a recent visit in March by a South-South Cooperation field backstopping mission to all several projects across Namibia was testament that a significant number of the agricultural projects are flourishing.
Viljoen, like his other Namibian counterparts, is currently working hand in hand with the 15 Chinese experts, who arrived in 2015 and were deployed in the Omusati, Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi and Khonmas Regions.
FAO Representative in Namibia Babagana Ahmadu said in an interview that good results were achieved in the areas of development of rice production in Namibia, horticulture crops as well as an improved understanding and mutual exchange on veterinary policies.
"Watermelon grafting technology was introduced, showing high yields in Mashare and Etunda. Compost fertilizer technology was demonstrated by using local resources and animal manure was also tested in maize and cultivation," he added.
As local food production is critical for Namibia to become self-sufficient and ensure food security, Ahmadu said that many parts of the country have been benefiting from these experts, notably the Kalibeza rice projects where they taught the locals the technology on selection and cultivation of rice.
"60 ha of rice cultivation technology were established through rice seedling mechanical transplanting with improved productivity. While a drip irrigation technology was introduced at Etunda for tomato production," he added.
Khaiseb Siegfried, an extension officer and head of virology, is also benefiting from the improved understanding and mutual exchange on veterinary policies.
The outcome in this specific project is of great importance to the Namibian livestock sector as it aims to address the Chinese importing requirements of meat and meat products from other countries.
Currently China has been supporting more than 25 developing countries over the last decade, in collaboration with FAO.