Saturday, 13 July 2013


To the Office of Namibia Horticulture Trust:                                                                              July 12, 2013

SAMARITAN VEGGIE TUNNEL RENOVATION

I conducted a renovation on the 3 Veggie Tunnels of Okahandja, which were in a critical condition. The Samaritan network is also a feeding program and their tunnels are used to supply fresh vegetables to their soup kitchen. They have one gardener who looks after the tunnels and makes sure it is watered twice in a day. The center later on provided me with 6 people that helped around with the renovation.

The condition of the Tunnels before the project:

Tunnel 1

The tunnel was laying almost flat on the ground, with broken pipes and unplanted planting bags inside, with other empty plastic bags laying around within the tunnel. The tunnel was also covered with a bit of weed around it, which we had to clean and we removed some stones that were inside the tunnel.

Activities that were done and renovation around the tunnel:

·         Bringing down the net

·         Removing of the old pipes

·         Fixing the torn places on the net

·         Taking out the old pegs

·         Replacement of the new PVC pipes of 32mm

·         Bags filling up into 3 rows

·         Moving the bags from tunnel 2 into tunnel one

We did these activities starting with tunnel one early in the morning, through till five o clock in the afternoon. There were planted spinach bags in tunnel two that we moved over to tunnel one, row B. Tunnel one that was empty, now has 3 rows with 610 planting bags all together. We left this tunnel as an example for the other 2 tunnels.

 
Tunnel 2

The condition of Tunnel two was similar to the first tunnel because it also laid low with broken pipes inside.  The gardener tried to sustain the tunnel by adding pieces of wires that left the tunnel torn in some places. It had two rows of spinach with a big open space in the middle. I left this tunnel empty and instructed the center to be filled as soon as possible with planting bags filled with river sand and then to replant it.

Activities that were down and renovation around the tunnel:

·         Bringing down the net

·         Removing of the old pipes

·         Fixing the torn places on the net

·         Taking out the old pegs

·         Replacement of the new PVC pipes of 32mm

 
Tunnel 3

Tunnel three was the one that was really looking down and shattered in many places. It was sustained inside by 2 PVC poles to keep it high and able for someone to walk in, upright. The tunnel had some carrots, beetroots, onions and a few tomatoes; the plants were looking unhealthy. According to them this is the tunnel that has been there for a long time and that is why it looked old.

Activities that were down and renovation around the tunnel:

·         Bringing down the net

·         Removing of the old pipes

·         Fixing the torn places on the net

·         Taking out the old pegs

·         Replacement of the new PVC pipes of 32mm

Due to the condition of the plants I advised them to remove the crops that were not looking so well and replant it, to allow a better yield rather than wasting time and as well as space and fertilizer on something that has been overdue.

 
 
Challenges experienced by the Samaritans

They explained to me that they have one old man who is looking after the tunnels whenever he can and he has been trying to maintain the tunnels in whatever way he could. Due to the short supply of fertilizers, seeds and planting bags, their vegetable production has gone down. Because the garden is not fenced, they experience children playing around it, cutting the net and pulling out some of their favorite vegetables. They also experience animals coming in such as dogs, cats and squirrels.

Suggestions and Recommendations

After the renovation project was completed, I suggest to the office of NHT to see if the following can be done to improve the productivity of the tunnel:

·         Secure a fence around the 3 tunnels

·         Organize training for 3 more gardeners

·         Supervise the work around the garden by a visit once in a month

·         Consistent provision of seeds and fertilizer

These things need attention for now to keep the garden running fully and to be able to provide a sustainable project afterwards, of its own.

Conclusion

After the renovation, I had a chat with the manager of the center and the project assistance encouraged them to replant as soon as possible and to conduct activities around the tunnel. We discussed that they will replant the tunnels each having 3 rows: one for beetroots, spinach and carrots. We agreed that they will share a harvest report whenever they harvest to me, which I will update on the recording data system and share later on with the office of NHT. The amount, which covered the whole renovation, was N$8,246.00

More pictures on the renovation project


Report by

Emmanuel Muyumba

Peri Urban Horticulture TOT