Boost local food production - Schlettwein

26 October 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Namibia can no longer rely on supplies of basic commodities from elsewhere, nor should the country feel secure in using monetary reserves to procure staple food imports to compensate for domestic food production shortfalls.

This was said by agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein at an Economic Association of Namibia (EAN) conference on Wednesday.

“We must instead optimally utilise available resources to boost local agriculture production.”

Schlettwein said agriculture should be recognised as the leading sector in Namibia's economic recovery, future food security and growth. He said as an economy that consumes what it does not produce and produces what it does not consume, stimulating the economy with higher public consumption does not cut it.

“Structural reform and significant investments in the productive sector are required. The economy must be turned into an investment-led and export-driven economy with domestic and regional value chains adding value to available raw materials.

“Quality finished goods and services should become our tradable products, not only primary goods. Agricultural production and agro-processing show significant potential.”

According to him the agriculture sector specifically (agriculture, forestry and fishing) registered a contraction of 2.6% in 2019, compared to a decline of 1.9% registered in 2018.

However, the good news is that the agriculture sector grew by 42.7% in the first quarter of this year. According to him the export of live animals has historically contributed to about two-thirds of agricultural exports by value.

In 2019, Namibia exported about 12 400 tonnes of meat.

“The Namibian beef value chain sustains both large and small cattle farmers. The new balance that must be found is one that assures access for all farmers to it without risking the loss of either access to the best-paying export markets such as Europe, the United States and China and access to regional markets, mainly South Africa.

“It means that the duality in the livestock sector, that is the difference in opportunities between south and north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence, must be addressed without risking the outstanding animal health record Namibia holds.”



Green Schemes

Schlettwein further said that exports of crops, vegetables, fruits, and forestry products have grown in recent years and by value have surpassed the beef export value.

“We have two initiatives, the Green Scheme and the National Horticulture Development Initiative (NHDI), aimed at increasing local agricultural production.”

The Green Schemes encourage the development of irrigated agronomic production with a target of reaching approximately 27 000 hectares along the perennial rivers bordering Namibia.

“The Green Schemes have not met many of the initial goals with less than 9 000 hectares under irrigation and several of the Green Scheme projects struggle financially.”

According to Schlettwein the reasons for the poor performance of Green Schemes are varied, but mainly inadequate and poor management.

According to him opportunities to diversify Green Scheme production, to open to private sector participation, to generate power and reduce irrigation costs are available to move from loss making to surplus production and profits.

Under the NHDI, Schlettwein said the government aims to increase local production and facilitate the marketing of fruit, vegetables, livestock fodder, and other horticultural products.

One element of the NHDI is an import substitution programme dubbed the Namibian Market Share Promotion (NMSP). In terms of the NMSP, importers of fresh horticulture produce are required to source a minimum percentage of their products from Namibian producers before qualifying for an import permit.

The initial NMSP threshold was set at 5% in 2005, which has since increased to 47%.

The Namibian Agronomic Board indicates that as a result of the NHDI (and other initiatives), local horticulture production has grown by 52% since 2005.

Schlettwein added that in further support of the NHDI, the government set up the Fresh Produce Hub in the northern regions with the aim of increasing food production while preserving the freshness of food, which unfortunately under-performed under the ambit of the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA).

“Here too institutional reform is required to improve viability, especially for support to small-scale producers in marketing and trading with fresh agricultural produce.”

Furthermore, Schlettwein said that other subsections in agriculture are in dire circumstances.

“The dairy sector can hardly stay afloat, the small stock (sheep) producers are in an equally difficult situation and so are the Swakara (karakul) producers.

We believe that survival of these subsections is possible, but it needs support and protection. A blend between subsidies, safeguards and investments needs to be developed and all stakeholders must chip in.”

Similar News

 

N$2 million to fight locust outbreak

11 hours ago | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) has donated N$2 million for the combating of the African migratory red locust outbreak in Namibia, most of which...

Land tax assessments coming in 2021

1 day - 26 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELVIRA HATTINGHWINDHOEKOwners of commercial farms will soon receive land tax assessments for the past five financial years, during which no payments were made.The valuation court...

Land tax assessments coming in 2021

3 days ago - 24 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELVIRA HATTINGHWINDHOEKOwners of commercial farms will soon receive land tax assessments for the past five financial years, during which no payments were made.The valuation court...

Women important in biomass industry

4 days ago - 23 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK The potential of women to make positive contributions to the biomass sector is enormous; however, this is often underappreciated.This...

Understanding beef production systems

1 week ago - 18 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKCattle farmers should understand the different production systems, because the system they choose determines the sustainability and profitability of the farm.According to Olebile Olibile,...

Subsidy could save dairy industry

1 week ago - 18 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe dairy industry is awaiting a possible government subsidy that could save the industry from complete collapse.Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein recently met with role...

China saves Oshakati abattoir

2 weeks ago - 13 November 2020 | Agriculture

TUYEIMO HAIDULAOSHAKATI Ningbo Agriculture Investment Group, a Chinese-owned company, has partnered with a local company to be in charge of the second largest abattoir in...

Use limited funding wisely to benefit agri

2 weeks ago - 12 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKNamibia’s agricultural sector does not have the required funding to fully implement...

The benefits of mulching

2 weeks ago - 11 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKMulching reduces the frequency of watering gardens or crop fields and therefore reduces the cost of water used in growing...

Marketing of sheep, cattle drop by 50%

2 weeks ago - 11 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKDuring the first nine months of this year, the marketing of sheep...

Latest News

Kenya's economic growth to rebound...

11 hours ago | Economics

Duncan MiririKenya's economic growth is expected to bounce back next year, the World Bank said on Wednesday, as it emerges from a projected decline in...

Man kills, buries his partner

11 hours ago | Crime

TUYEIMO HAIDULAOKATANAA 36-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a body discovered on Wednesday at Omayanga village in the Okatana Constituency, Oshana Region. The...

Swapo holds on by fingernails

11 hours ago | Politics

TOIVO NDJEBELAWINDHOEKSwapo continued from where it left off with its downward spiral in last year's election by having its hold onto key constituencies and local...

Iipinge taps out

11 hours ago | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKOutgoing Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor Knowledge Iipinge, who has conceded to Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) candidate Florian Donatus Tegako, says his work...

Nigerians to slide into further...

11 hours ago | Economics

Camille Malplat and Louise Dewast More than 200 million Nigerians will slide further into poverty as the coronavirus pandemic has sent oil prices tumbling and...

Hit the ground running

11 hours ago | Opinion

At the time of penning this down yesterday, the tabulation of election results was still under way. It didn’t look like a good day at...

Auto Sueco gunning the future...

11 hours ago | Politics

OGONE TLHAGEwindhoekFrom its humble beginnings in 2004, Auto Sueco Namibia is now a reckoned force in the Extra heavy and heavy commercial vehicle market with...

Ivory Coast raises 1 billion...

11 hours ago | Economics

Ivory Coast's Eurobond sale this week, sub-Saharan Africa's first of the pandemic era, raised 1 billion euros (US$1.19 billion) and was five times oversubscribed, the...

Open defecation remains a problem

11 hours ago | Health

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKIt is estimated that 14% of Namibians living in urban areas practise open defecation, while 77% of people living in rural areas do the...

Load More