For the agriculture sector to achieve the desired outcomes set out in the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4), an amount of N$1 068 493 520 has been allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s agriculture programme.
Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa announced this when he recently motivated a total budget in parliament of N$2 301 487 000 for the financial year 2016/17 for the MAWF. This represents a 4.7 % reduction from last year’s allocation.
Overall, N$599 855 480 (26.1%) is devoted to the development of the water sector and to supply water to rural communities in communal areas; N$1 068 493 520 (46.4%) is for the development of the agriculture sector, while N$222 637 000 (9.7%) is for the development of the forestry sector and N$410 501 000 (17.8%) has been allocated to supervision and support services.
Mutorwa says agriculture is critical for both economic development and also in meeting the country’s regional and global commitments, which include the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal on the eradication of poverty and hunger. It is also key to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), with its four pillars.
They are: Pillar 1: extending the area under sustainable management and reliable water control systems. Pillar 2: improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for market access. Pillar 3: increasing food supply and reducing hunger, and Pillar 4: agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption.
“The purpose of this programme is to promote animal health and increase productivity and reducing poverty; to enhance agricultural production at national and household level in a sustainable manner; to encourage diversification; to support rural income-generation projects and to promote private sector investment in agro-processing industries,” Mutorwa was quoted as saying.
He said the MAWF shall monitor and supervise the construction of UvunguVungu Dairy Project, Ndonga Linena Phase 2, as well as ORIP green scheme projects at Musese, Mashare, Etunda, Kalimbeza, Zone, Katima Farm. The ministry will also continue to upgrade irrigation infrastructure at the said green scheme projects.
It will further construct Phase 2 of the Rundu and Ongwediva Fresh Produce Hubs and Windhoek Fresh Produce Hub (Phase I), complete the Ongwediva Technology Centre and continue to identify suitable land for irrigation in the country for the further development and expansion of government’s Green Scheme Programme.
The ministry will also continue with bulk earthworks for the fresh produce marketing hub in Windhoek, as well as facilitate the planning, design and tendering of the hub’s infrastructure.
The ministry will continue with the implementation and monitoring of the Rain-fed Crop Production Programme (RFCPP), including the new components of Conservation Agriculture” and “Draft Animal Power” that were added to the RFCPP in all crop-growing regions and procure additional tractors and implements to ensure effective and efficient service provision to farmers in crop growing areas.
The MAWF will strengthen border control inspection capacity to ensure that all agricultural products entering and leaving the country are in conformity with acceptable standards and are recorded.
The ministry will facilitate the process of setting up trade protocols concerning the export of livestock and genetic material.
The MAWF will also continue to encourage the establishment of community gardens to improve household food security and will construct new Agricultural Development Centres (ADCs) at Onamutayi in Oshana Region and Tubuses in Erongo Region.
The ministry will further continue to implement its fruit-fly surveillance programme in collaboration with the FAO, through its Technical Cooperation Programme.
An abattoir, cold storage and a cooking facility, will also be set up in the Zambezi Region. These facilities are aimed at improving value-addition and to take advantage of commodity-based trade, to ensure continuous marketing of meat and meat products, such as canned beef, cooked meat, biltong and other heat-treated meat products from an FMD high-risk area.
The ministry will continue to implement the strategy for achieving international recognition for freedom from FMD and Lungsickness status in the NCAs. The implementation of this strategy is aimed at creating conditions that will allow farmers in the NCAs to access local, regional and international markets for their animals and animal products.
International collaboration in the management of trans-boundary animal diseases will also be strengthened. A major long-term component of the plan entails the eventual erection of a border fence, between Namibia and Angola and the relocation of livestock, relying on grazing in Angola, to identified grazing areas within Namibia.
The Livestock Identification and Traceability System will continue in the NCA’s and the entire population of cattle older than 6 months is expected to be ear-tagged during this financial year.
The electrification of part of the high-risk area of the VCF and the Namibia-Botswana international border fence, which commenced in 2013, is projected to be completed later this financial year.
“It is the commitment of the MAWF to ensure that the sector contributes optimally to economic growth and that Namibia is able to feed itself and export the surplus,” the minister concluded.