Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry ,John Mutorwa says food insecurity is a “life and death matter”.
Thus he passionately appealed to all Namibians to join President Hage Geingob’s war on poverty and inequality. He further urges every stakeholder and role player in the agricultural sector to contribute toward food security, growth, prosperity and dignity for all Namibians.
He officially opened the first National Conservation Agriculture (CA) Stakeholders’ Workshop in Windhoek last week. The workshop comes after government implemented the Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme of N$94 million this March.
The programme was launched with technical and financial support from the European Union, the Food and agriculture Organisation of the UN, the Global Environmental Facility and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
Stressing the ever-growing problems the agricultural sector faces in light of climate change and prolonged droughts, Mutorwa is nevertheless optimistic that with this programme, Namibia will be able to use its collective scarce resources to achieve shared prosperity of farming communities, particularly in rural areas.
He says in the face of climate change – to which humans contribute directly – the challenge for Namibian crop farmers is to plant to halt further degradation of the soil but not destroy the soil.
Noting the important role Conservation Agriculture (CA) has to play in ensuring food security, he stressed the importance of the theme of the workshop being “Unlocking the potential of CA for inclusive and equitable development,” and said the workshop draws inspiration from the declaration of war against poverty by President Geingob. “This high-level delegation gives us hope that we can position agriculture as a game changer for sustainable economic growth and development for Namibia in accordance with the goals of NDP4,” he noted.
Mutorwa urged all attendants to share lessons, best practices and technological advances and innovations during the three-day workshop and learn to adapt to CA to increase agricultural productivity, whilst protecting the fragile agricultural resources and the natural environment.
He called for diversification of the agricultural base to improve contributions toward food security and employment creation.
“This collaborative partnership between the farming community, government and the private sector is instrumental in optimising agricultural production and enhancing sustainable use and management of agriculture, water and forestry resources, especially in the communal areas,” he noted.
In conclusion, Mutorwa assured Namibian crop farmers that government will encourage the promotion of CA to transform current agricultural practices by shifting the paradigm towards a strong community-based and government-supported approach to farming with resource inputs and contributions from the private sector and other partners..