Youth can benefit from agri programmes

15 September 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The youth can benefit through several programmes of the agriculture ministry, which have already assisted thousands of farmers countrywide.

Agriculture public relations officer Jona Musheko briefed young people on some of the key programmes at an engagement session with the Samora Machel Youth Forum.

According to him the ministry has about 144 agriculture development centres (ADCs) established across the country through which about 40 000 farmers are advised and trained in various agricultural production areas annually.

He said these are extensions of all ministerial services to the public and through these extension officials the ministry drives the implementation of various projects.

Crop farmers

Musheko said the ministry is implementing the Dry Land Crop Production Programme (DCPP) in ten crop growing regions, namely Zambezi, Kavango West, Kavango East, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kunene, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke.

To date an average of 40 000 farming households have benefited from subsidised ploughing, planting and weeding services, as well as agricultural inputs such as improved seed varieties and fertilisers through this programme.

Furthermore, the ministry is implementing the Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (CCAP) in the crop-growing regions of Zambezi, Kavango West, Kavango East, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto.

This programme is aimed at promoting improved crop productivity and soil fertility and to mitigate against low and variable rainfall, thereby creating climate resilience.

“Through this programme, a total of 5 000 farmers were trained and are practicing at least one of the Conservation Agriculture (CA) principles,” said Musheko.

Small stock

The ministry is also implementing the Small Stock Distribution and Development project through which it provides quality core breeding flock of suitable indigenous goats to 20 selected vulnerable households per region, leading to beneficiaries gaining a sustainable means of income generation and food security.

Musheko explained that the Dry-land Crop Production Programme (DCPP) is a subsidy programme which is implemented in the ten crop-growing regions of Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Kavango West, Kavango East, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke.

According to him the overall objective of DCPP is to ensure and accelerate the provision of subsidised agricultural production inputs and mechanized services.

He said this thereby increases crop yield, food and nutrition security, creation of employment opportunities as well as contribution to the reduction in poverty and income inequality.

According to Musheko, over the past three years, the programme has benefited a total of 112 523 farming households.

During the 2019/2020 financial year, the programme benefited a total of 40 393 farmers of which 23 218 were female and 17 175 were male, through subsidy representing 34% of the targeted 120 000 crop farmers.

Poultry

Furthermore, Musheko explained that the Poultry Value Chain Development Scheme’s main is to support poultry producers along the poultry value chain through the provision of subsidised inputs, services, storage, processing, and marketing as well as capacity building.

“The programme targets women and rural youth as an entry point to diversify their income earning and employment opportunities as well as training in poultry production in order to improve their socio-economic situation.

He said that during the 2020/2021 financial year a total of 618 poultry producers benefited from subsidised production inputs and capacity building.

Meanwhile the main objective of the Horticulture Support and Value Chain Development Project is to support horticulture producers and processors along the horticultural value chain through the provision of subsidized inputs, services, storage, processing, and marketing as well as capacity building.

Through this programme, a total of 3389 horticulture producers (1 596 men and 1 793 women) were assisted with production inputs. Furthermore, a total of 4163 horticulture producers (1 822 men and 2 341 women) were advised.

Another programme is the Namibia Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project, which aims to improve household food and nutrition security and contribute to poverty reduction.

The specific objectives are to enhance agricultural productivity in order to reduce annual importation of staple cereal crops/grains, facilitate job creation, and enhance household incomes.

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