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Home / Zambezi farmers hail govt’s empowerment efforts… value booming agri opportunities

Zambezi farmers hail govt’s empowerment efforts… value booming agri opportunities

2024-04-02  Correspondent

Zambezi farmers hail govt’s empowerment efforts… value booming agri opportunities

Lahja Nashuuta


Farmers in the Zambezi region are highly appreciative of the numerous government interventions and efforts to improve the lives and overall living standards of the region’s inhabitants through farming. 

Agriculture forms the backbone of the Zambezi people as everyone there is either engaged in small-scale farming for family consumption, or large-scale farming for income-generation. 

The region is blessed with natural water sources such as rivers, streams, underground water, good rainfall patterns and large fertile landscapes.

AgriToday spoke to various farmers in the region, who shared their challenges and success stories, and how grateful they are for the support they get from government. 

Kamwi Bonna Sakutuka, a subsistence farmer mainly involved with livestock and crop farming, said despite various challenges such as climate change and disease outbreaks, farmers continue to thrive thanks to timely interventions and support from government. 

“Over the years, we have been receiving help from government in our fight against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), and we also get vaccines for our livestock, seeds, fertilisers and subsidised tractors to plough our fields. We also get assistance with weeding and harvesting services. We have received some subsidised fodder and supplementary feeds for our cattle during drought periods,” said a thankful Sakutuka.

He added: “We have seen fellow farmers around here benefiting from other agricultural projects in small-scale farming, receiving farm tools and equipment like water pumps, solar panels, fencing wire, seeds, fertilisers and rippers. Many of them have likewise received small stock such as goats under the rural development programme through the Zambezi Regional Council and the line ministry. These are all things we highly appreciate.”


On the large livestock side, Sakutuka is happy that the Meatco abattoir in the region has availed new market opportunities, but said the prices offered by them are not so satisfactory. 

“At least for now, our cattle have a market. However, it’s the prices they pay which are not favourable to the farmers in the region,” he stressed.

He then pointed out the lack of incentives for small-scale farmers and other self-help schemes in both urban and rural areas, which he said could go a long way in alleviating hunger and promoting nutrition at household levels.

Sakutuka feels there is also a need for the government to provide enough funding for small-scale farmers in both urban and rural areas to alleviate hunger and promote nutrition amongst people living with chronic diseases, disabilities, and the orphans and vulnerable children.

Also noting a positive agricultural transition in the region was Dobson Kwala, another seasonal crop farmer and owner of Ishubu Investment CC. His company supplies local supermarkets, street vendors and milling factories in the region with grains and vegetables. 

He, too, agrees that government has done its best to protect Namibian farmers and associated industries by enacting laws and policies which speak to the needs of local farmers, and allows them to flourish on the international market.

“For the past few years, we have witnessed the transformation in the agricultural sector, and accessing local and international markets without limitation. For many years, farmers from this part of the country did not have a market for their livestock products, and could not benefit from the luxury markets where Meatco is exporting products to from south of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF, or red line). It has now been made easier for farmers to do their farming without intimidation, unlike before independence,” shared Kwala.

Visible transformation 

He particularly highlighted government’s livestock support programme, and the construction of the Katima Mulilo abattoir, the Katima Mulilo quarantine facility and the upgrading of the Sachinga Livestock Development Centre, which all promote livestock value chains and create access to bigger markets, especially outside the notorious red line.

“What is worth celebrating is that there is now a culture of farming in Namibia, and young people have taken a lead by equipping themselves with skills, unlike in the past when they were not motivated enough to venture into agriculture,” he added.

“The government is giving subsidies and loans to emerging farmers, something that never happened before. We have farmers here in the Zambezi who have directly benefitted from Agribank, commercial banks, and international donors.”

In terms of crop farming, most of the farmers who grow white maize, mahangu, wheat and pearl millet grains have access to modern farming practices and equipment which allows them to thrive.

Fellow farmer Agnes Limbo, one of the horticulture farmers and former member of parliament, noted the lack of water as a major challenge facing the region. She stated that the available boreholes are salty, and it is also expensive to drill as clean water is very deep underground.

Currently, most horticulture farmers in the region rely on Namwater’s supply for irrigation purposes, which is expensive. 

Limbo also shared that the cost and lack of tractors is another challenge for most farmers, as tractors are very expensive to buy and maintain.

She, therefore, pleaded with the government to provide further financial and mentorship support for the region to be able to produce enough for the whole country and for exports. 


2024-04-02  Correspondent

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