Collective investments can maximise full potential of agriculture

23 September 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Collective and collaborative investments will enable agribusinesses to increase productivity and contribute to GDP of Namibia.

Agriculture is an overlooked industry in Namibia, despite its immense contribution to the economy’s GDP and its impact on livelihoods, says Agribank’s technical advisor for crops and poultry, Hanks Saisai.

He says with approximately nine years left before the country reaches the significant milestone of Vision 2030, it becomes everyone’s responsibility to take responsible actions towards attaining this vision.

He says many Namibians directly or indirectly depend on the agriculture sector and it has been proven to be the largest employer in the country.

“Namibia’s agriculture sector has proven to be a leading producer of high-quality beef, grapes and blueberries that have provided access to foreign markets offering lucrative incomes.”

Waning investments

Saisai says that over the past six years, the sector’s contribution to GDP has been approximately 7.6% on average and this could be as a result of many factors.

According to him one of the fundamental factors is the investments made in the sector, which show a declining trend.

Hence, improving the agriculture sector’s contribution towards GDP would require prioritising investments in the sector through collective and collaborative efforts.

“Of late, there have been notable private investments in the sector that have resulted in profitable enterprises such as the Roots Agricultural Village at Stampriet and the establishment of the Mashare Blueberry Irrigation Scheme. Part of the success factors in these agribusinesses could be key financial, technical and market investments.”

He adds that the agriculture ministry and respective agencies have made significant investments in the sector.

“However, involving the private sector to invest in agricultural businesses would unlock the real potential of agriculture in Namibia.”

Key sectors

Saisai says subsectors that could be boosted with investment include value-addition through the processing of agricultural commodities and the introduction of branding, labelling and packaging of high-quality commodities that could be exported to earn the nation foreign currency.

Additionally, significant investments that bring services closer to farmers and the securing of markets would significantly accelerate the quantity of commodities produced in the country.

“This should be supported by organised logistical channels to transport produce from point of production to the rightful markets of consumption on time.

“On the end of the producers, subsidies, incentives and regular capacity-building interventions to build their knowledge base will enable them to be reliable producers that meet market demand patterns regularly.”

Saisai adds that Agribank, through its Agri Advisory Services Division, is actively complementing government projects by conducting farming lectures and practical sessions to educate farmers on various components of farming, as well as advising on possible solutions to farming challenges.

“Moreover, monetary investments made by a single ministry, agency or private company can be complemented by other role players that invest in capacity building, logistics, value addition and securing markets to ensure that producers are motivated to effectively and efficiently produce agricultural commodities that can result in the generation of foreign income from overseas markets.”

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