Agri continues to create employment

19 June 2019 | Agriculture

Despite the disastrous conditions that the agriculture sector in Namibia is facing due to the drought, it has created employment opportunities while other sectors within the economy have faced colossal dismissals.

During the Agricultural Employers' Association (AEA) congress that took place last week a survey was done with regards to the scale of dismissals of farmworkers among all farmers' associations that attended the congress.

A very interesting observation was that due to the explosion of charcoal production and the production of boskos, which are both very labour intensive, the central and northern parts of the commercial area currently have more employees in service than three to five years ago.

Speaking at the congress, the AEA chairperson Hellmut Förtsch also stressed the importance of heeding President Hage Geingob's request for the improvement of the living conditions of farmworkers.

According to Förtsch the AEA in the past proactively initiated improvements in the living conditions for farmworkers that can now be improved upon.

He said the current initiative is a survey for members and non-members stipulating steps employers intend taking within the next three years to make work in agriculture more attractive and competitive within the national economy, as well as supporting the Harambee and the Fifth National Development plans.

“The first priorities are physical living conditions such as housing, economic prosperity and retirement plans, as well as social conditions.”

Förtsch also said the provision for retirement is lacking in Namibia as the national pension fund has not been activated yet.

“The private pension fund for farmworkers, NARF, had to be discontinued in 2016 due to skyrocketing admin costs and too few participants. Hence a large portion of the Namibian workforce, including farmworkers, lacks comprehensive provision for retirement.”