By Staff Reporter
On Wednesday, the 5th of October, the first ever Agriculture Outlook Conference was held at Protea Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia.
Under the theme “Farmers, food, future”, the conference has been jointly organized by all the farmers’ unions in the sector. That is, the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU), Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU), the Previously Disadvantaged Namibian Farmers Union (PDNF) and the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU).
The conference aimed at learning the importance of organized structures and financing models and help to attract funding in agriculture. It also aimed at learning about the challenges that farmers face and also their proposals to reactivate the ALC schemes.
Calle Schlettwein, the minister of Agriculture, Water and forestry, was the key note speaker.
On behalf of the government, he stressed the importance of agriculture to economic growth and the role of the government in ensuring food security and socio-economic development.
The government recently started with the process of repurposing the Green Schemes by offering their operation and productive utilization to the private sector operators.
The minister highlighted four fundamental key actions that will enable the sector to prosper which include urgency for policy reprioritization in the sector as a sustainable pathway for building back better amidst the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and the on-going Ukraine-Russia conflict.
“The lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and the pass-through effects from the Ukraine-Russia conflict bring forth the needed policy responsiveness for the new normal. This new normal predisposes a shift in the policy priority away from relying on trade for food security, towards food self-sufficiency. This policy priority requires much improved productive capacity in agriculture across all the value chains.” Calle Schlettwein.
Provided the vast land and water resources, Namibia heavily depends on export for food security.
Emphasizing the importance of Agriculture to the Namibian economy, acting president of NNFU, Mr. Amon Kapi, said that most of the policies and systems are not in favor of agriculture. “The importance of farmers’ unions could not be emphasized enough. The challenges include politics, lack of support by stakeholders, individuals and the key players,” said Kapi. He also said that farmers need to be organized if they are going to be united.
The agriculture sector recorded growth since 2020. This is despite the outbreak of COVID-19 and climate change.