Food security crucial in a selfish world

The government is promoting broad-based economic development interventions that are supportive of the agriculture, food safety, growth at home and the food security and nutrition policies and strategies.

08 July 2020 | Economics

These policies and strategies are addressing aspects of food production, processing, distribution, marketing and consumption of safe food. Percy Misika, executive director: Ministry of Agriculture, water and Land Reform.

The world has entered an era of “every country for itself”, leaving Namibia with no choice but to pursue policies that are aimed towards food self-sufficiency.

This was said by Percy Misika, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform’s executive director in response to questions by this agency on how Namibia intends to become food self-sufficient.

To achieve the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, the government is promoting broad-based economic development interventions that are supportive of the agriculture, food safety, growth at home and the food security and nutrition policies and strategies.

Misika said the government has also adopted a holistic and comprehensive approach to boost local food production by investing in productive activities and projects to improve livelihoods.

Masika further pointed out that in order to achieve this, “the ministry is applying a multi-stakeholder approach and has identified roles and involvement of relevant stakeholders encompassing the private sector and producers, drawing together their know-how with a view to facilitate the efficient use of resources.”

Programmes

To further boost food production, the ministry embarked on several programmes aimed at supporting local producers. Among them is the dry land crop production programme aimed at enhancing crop production and productivity.

It is envisaged that food security will be enhanced through provision of subsidised agricultural inputs and services in the 10 crop growing regions including Kavangos east and west, Zambezi, Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke.

The programme has a total of 167 tractors and various implements such as rippers, ploughs, planters and fertiliser applicators that are procured by Government.

Next is the horticulture production programme aimed at enhancing market-driven horticulture produce through improved productivity, product quality and competitiveness.

This is to ensure food and nutrition security, crop diversification and employment creation.

Under this programme, producers are supported through subsidies throughout the entire horticultural commodity value-chain - including subsidised irrigation material, seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.

Additionally, the ministry provides various technical trainings for farmers in irrigation, pest management, pesticide application, animal nutrition, livestock husbandry, hydroponic fodder production and conservation agriculture among others.

“These policies and strategies are addressing aspects of food systems including the production, processing, distribution, marketing and consumption of safe food,” Misika noted.

Official statistics indicate that Namibia imports about 70 per of its daily consumables from neighbouring South Africa. The status quo is not sustainable, Misika conceded.

“Like with all other countries, Namibia is aiming at guaranteeing the availability of food in quantity and quality sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of individuals’ physical and economic accessibility for everyone,” said Misika. - Nampa

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