Windhoek – Now more than ever the government and the private sector need to work together and collaborate on practical initiatives that can create employment as fast as possible in the short- and medium-term to prevent the local economy from contracting and pushing more people into poverty.
This message came from Maria Lisa Immanuel, senior trade and investment policy analyst of the Namibian Trade Forum when she officially launched the multi-million dollar Namboer Poultry initiative, which aims to bring poultry farming to the masses at affordable prices.
Immanuel said in times like these policymakers should focus on and prioritise “low-hanging fruit” initiatives that make economic sense and have the potential to create employment.
One such initiative is to stimulate poultry production in Namibia. Poultry farming comes with untapped business opportunities offering great potential to create employment across the entire value chain and consequently drive rural industrialisation.
“The poultry industry forms an integral part of the agro – processing sector in Namibia. This sector offers significant potential to increase value addition, to create jobs, income and export opportunities to enhance food security and reduce dependence on imports and hence, has been prioritised by government through various policy initiatives.
“Presently, the sector unfortunately faces many constraints across the whole value chain, which require systematic planning from both government and the private sector to develop a robust and sustainable sector, which can positively grow the sector and the economy at large,” she noted.
Immanuel said there is a high demand for indigenous chicken in Namibia. Small-scale poultry farming has the potential to lead rural industrialisation in the regions, especially in times when the effects of drought threaten food security at household and national level.
Most rural households here in the country traditionally raised chicken for own consumption.
The indigenous knowledge factor is thus a distinct comparative advantage that government should take advantage of by planning targeted programmes to make this a reality.
Women and youth in rural areas stand to benefit most from indigenous poultry farming. A business model that allows the youth to take over the running of business systems, while the women focus on production, could be viable.
Indigenous chicken farming is less capital intensive, with a low rate of disease outbreak, as the breed is adaptable to local environmental conditions. They also have flexible feeding ratios and feed is easily sourced, as it can be mahangu, rice, insects and maize by-products, etc.
It also requires fewer veterinary services and the infrastructure is simple and cost-effective to set up. Support could be in the form of availing start-up inputs, as well as training in poultry management and husbandry.
Immanuel applauded Namboer Poultry for their initiative, which will supply chickens and all needed infrastructure, as well as feeds and incubators. “They say the first step to starting is information empowerment,” she concluded.