Better access to information can enable citizens to participate effectively in the country’s economic process, says Jona Musheko, spokesperson of the agriculture ministry.
He was speaking at a youth engagement session with the Samora Machel Youth Forum recently with a focus on opportunities that exist in the sector and the mandate of the ministry.
“As young people with interest in agriculture, please feel free to make use of the opportunities such as applying for resettlement farming units as a group (registered cooperatives),” shared Musheko, adding that these farming units are advertised in local newspapers and on the website of the line ministry.
He said the ministry has about 144 agricultural development centres established in all 14 regions, through which about 40 000 farmers are advised and trained in various agricultural production areas annually.
“These are extensions of all ministerial services to the public-through these extension officials; we drive the implementation of various projects. The agriculture ministry is implementing the Dry Land Crop Production Programme (DCPP) in 10 crop-growing regions of the country,” informed Musheko.
“We are implementing the Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme in 10 crop-growing regions of the country; among them are Zambezi, Kavango West, Kavango East, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto, which is aimed at promoting improved crop productivity, soil fertility and to mitigate against low and variable rainfall, thereby creating climate resilience to farmers. Through this programme, a total of 5 000 farmers were trained and are practising at least one of the conservation agriculture principles.” One of the participants and a member of the Samora Machel Youth Forum, Christa Ithana said the session was informative and not only was it extensive in opportunities that are available, but also opened her mind to a lot of other ventures in the sector.
“I can now share the information not only with my family members but with others in the country who want to venture into agriculture as a business. We were told how to start backyard gardens and have food security within the community by growing food so that we can feed each other,” shared Ithana.
Additionally, the ministry is implementing the Small Stock Distribution and Development project, through which it provides a 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.
Other projects available in all regions include the Poultry Value Chain Development Scheme, Horticulture Support and Value Chain Development Project.
The Namibia Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project are also included to improve household food and nutrition security and contribute to poverty reduction by enhancing agricultural productivity to reduce the annual importation of staple cereal crops/grains.