Yogya (KU) - State of Namibia, Africa, has made the rice cultivation cooperation involving UGM agricultural experts as its national project. The project is expected to increase rice production in Namibia and to change the food consumption of their local people to switch from corn starch to rice. This was confirmed by the Vice Rector of the University of Namibia (UNAM), Prof. Osmund Mwandemele, PhD., at the public lecture delivered in the Agricultural Faculty of UGM, Thursday (8/4).
"The government of Namibia, through its president, hopes UNAM could be the motor to boost rice production. As the one and only university (in Namibia), UNAM needs to learn from countries that have had already success such as Indonesia," said Osmund.
Osmund added, in cooperation with the Agricultural Faculty of UGM, they expected to have an exchange of knowledge related to technological capabilities of paddy cultivation. Moreover, they are also expected to be able to obtain rice varieties suitable to be planted in Namibia.
"UGM can teach Namibian farmers how to grow rice, process paddy into rice, and do post-harvest processing that we think still insufficient," he said. He also mentioned, in Namibia there is an area that is often flooded. For this area, he also hoped experts from UGM can find the suitable rice varieties.
Meanwhile, Prof. Luke Kanyumeka., Ph.D., Vice Dean of the UNAM Faculty of Agriculture in his presentation hoped that the UGM lecturers and students can later assess to help improve rice production in Namibia. Especially for a lecturer, he publicly asked them to spend one year working there.
Separately, the Dean of UGM Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Ir. Triwibowo Yuwono,. Ph.D., said theÂ Faculty has sent two experts to Namibia to observe regions potential for the rice cultivation and choose the varieties suitable to soil and climatic conditions of Namibia. "UGM has sent its staff twice for this rice development project. Namibia plans to import tractors from Indonesia," he said. UGM cooperation with the State of Namibia, according to Triwibowo, has a strategic impact for Indonesia's position in the world. Especially in Namibia itself, there are divisions of technology application from certain countries such as Japan and so forth. "This is a project of developing a State. Itâ€™s a challenge for Indonesia that has been entrusted to do this. Moreover, Namibia has made this partnership their national project, "he said.
Before giving the public lecture at UGM, the team from UNAM had an opportunity to see the Agricultural Training, Research and Development Station (KP4) UGM which is located inÂ Kalitirto, Berbah, Sleman. They had the opportunity to see directly the rice planting and various other types of agricultural cultivation.