SUPPORT: Agriculture executive director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata. Photo: FILE
SUPPORT: Agriculture executive director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata. Photo: FILE

Invest in women to grow agri - Nghituwamata

Programmes initiated that aim to empower women
Agriculture ministry executive director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata underlined that women contribute significantly to household investment, community resilience, national economy growth and the vibrancy of regional economies.
Ellanie Smit
An investment in women will accelerate agricultural growth while addressing food security and self-food reliance.

Agriculture ministry executive director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata said this at a Women and Agriculture summit, adding that women in Namibia are central to all aspects of agriculture and off-farm activities in their communities.

According to her, women contribute significantly to household investment, community resilience, national economy growth and the vibrancy of regional economies.

“However, their efforts are limited by lack of access to productive resources, technologies, services and market access.”

Nghituwamata said despite the role women play in agriculture, they are constrained by lack of

involvement in the decision-making processes and access to finances.

“We need to rethink the country’s approach to economic growth and socio-economic development. At the ministry, our focus is no longer food security alone, but food security and food self-reliance.”

Empower women

Nghituwamata said the agricultural sector - and particularly farmers in communal areas - face the challenges of market access, lack of agricultural mechanisation and value addition to agricultural produce.

“The topic of women in agriculture therefore cuts across the core of our socio-economic development drive and seeks to answer the questions of how we could best ensure national food security, and create much-needed jobs through agro-allied industries which depend on agriculture for raw materials so as to operate successfully in the production of finished goods.”

The ministry has initiated programmes that aim to empower women, with the belief that empowered women farmers can increase their income, develop a stable rural livelihood and contribute to food and nutrition security, she said.

This includes the dry land crop production programme, which supports small- and medium-scale crop farmers with subsidised agricultural production inputs and mechanised services.

The aim of the programme is to enhance food production and productivity along cereal value chains, thereby enhancing food security and creating resilience to climate change. Through this programme, a quarter of the targeted crop farmers benefit from the subsidy programme annually.

Projects

During the 2021/2022 cropping season, a total of 44 959 farmers - of which 50% were women - benefitted from inputs and mechanised services. This allowed women access to agricultural inputs, ploughing and weeding services.

Elaborating on the horticulture support and value chain development project, Nghituwamata said its purpose is to ensure sustainable access, availability, use of essential farm inputs and capacity building of small-scale horticulture producers.

During the 2021/2022 financial year, a total of 771 horticultural producers - of which 50% were women - benefitted from input, mechanised services and irrigation material subsidies under this programme. It received a total budget of N$6 million for the provision of subsidies during the 2022/2023 financial year.

Meanwhile, the small stock development and distribution in communal areas project aims to assist vulnerable rural households to gain a sustainable means of income generation and food and nutrition security as well as improve their social and economic well-being by providing them with 20 ewes and one ram.

The beneficiaries are also supported with the construction of a kraal, small stock equipment as well as vaccines and medicine.

“The project empowers the beneficiaries and neighbouring communities with basic small stock management through training,” Nghituwamata said.

A total of 492 famers have benefitted from the project, amongst which 207 were women.

She, however, said the issue of land access and ownership remains an important asset women need.

Therefore, the ministry has developed and adopted a land reform policy that ensures access and equity.

“The land reform policy allows women to own land just like men.”

Comments

Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

No comments have been left on this article

Please login to leave a comment