Agriculture 'paradigm shift' needed

Prevalent issues that have slowed down the performance of the agriculture sector include corruption, red tape, policy uncertainties, lack of competence in key institutions and the private sector's 'watch and see' attitude.

04 September 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Namibia must ensure it is shockproof against the coronavirus pandemic, global warming, as well as other forces that can negatively affect the performance of the agriculture sector.

This is according to Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) chairperson Michael Iyambo, who was speaking at the opening of the two-day market-led Agricultural Conference.

The conference was held virtually under the theme Agriculture Fit for the Future - Robust, Resilient and Responsive.

“We need a paradigm shift in our thinking as leaders in the private and public sector and interrogate deliberations that will allow us to cease focusing and relying on other countries externally,” Iyambo said.

Investor mindset

He added that approaching transformation with an investor mindset is critical to the success of the process.

Agricultural transformation is more than changes in farming practices, he added.

“It is about catalysing the transformation of a country's rural economy. For transformation to succeed, there must be a common understanding of the plan, stakeholder roles and approaches to the management of the process. At the highest level, key government ministries, local and international private sectors and donors must be aligned.”



Slowing down performance

According to Iyambo, there have been prevalent issues that have slowed down the performance of the agriculture sector. He said these include corruption, red tape, policy uncertainties, lack of competence in key institutions and the private sector's 'watch and see' attitude.

According to him, this is coupled with laws and regulations that influence banking, land ownership and access, as well as access to water, which prevents Namibia from exploiting opportunities for inward investment, while at the same time driving Namibian businesses to explore investment opportunities elsewhere in the region with better environments.

“Namibia loses out on economic activities, multiplier effects, tax revenue and jobs, and of course all the way we lose dearly.”

Iyambo said in the agriculture fraternity, there is an opportunity to internalise, redesign and transform to achieve the desired objectives for the country.

“We owe it to ourselves and the country at large to ensure that the engine of the economy, which is the agriculture sector, performs at its maximum potential.”

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