Billion-dollar agri project to enhance food security

05 February 2019 | Agriculture

The agriculture ministry, through its envisioned N$1.4 billion Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed System Improvement Project (NAMSIP), aims to make a significant contribution to the country's food security.

This is according to the ministry's executive director Percy Misika in a speech read on his behalf yesterday by Mildred Kambinda, in which he called on various stakeholders especially the youth to take part in NAMSIP that focuses on agricultural mechanisation and seed system improvement.

The specific objectives of the project are to enhance agricultural productivity in order to reduce the annual importation of staple cereal crops, facilitate job creation and enhance household incomes, which will improve the lives of the rural people.

Currently, the ministry is conducting workshops across the country in order to sensitise the potential beneficiaries of NAMSIP as well as give them an opportunity to contribute their inputs before the project is finally implemented.

Misika said that one of the key challenges affecting food security in Namibia is the inability of rural producers to timely access agricultural inputs such as seed, fertilisers, farm machinery and equipment that are required for effective land preparation, planting, fertiliser application, weeding and harvesting.

“This challenge negatively affects agricultural production, post-harvest handling and marketing. The agricultural mechanisation component of the project will therefore enable farmers to complete farming operations in a timely manner, especially in the crop-producing regions where a rain-fed farming system is practiced and where climate change and variability has an adverse impact on food production,” Misika said.

“In addition, it will also help increase productivity and reduce the cost of cultivation. This project is also vital in ensuring timely availability and accessibility by farmers of quality certified, early maturing, high yielding and drought tolerant seed,” Misika further said.

Misika explained that the project is funded through a secured N$1 billion loan from the Africa Development Bank while government will contribute about N$360 million.

The beneficiaries of the project are expected to contribute about N$57 million as they will be assisted in procuring the machinery and pay a certain percentage of the total amount which is yet to be determined. Meanwhile, the governor of Kavango East, Samuel Mbambo, expressed his profound gratitude towards government for the NAMSIP initiative saying that it will contribute immensely towards food security in the country.

Mbambo urged the farmers who took part in the workshop to tap into what they are taught and to be practical.

“Farmers, I am happy you responded positively to the invitation, however I would like you take this information with you and implement it so that our food production is improved,” Mbambo said.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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