The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, recently suggested the country adopt sustainable food production methods with less means and emphasised the wise utilisation of natural resources. This approach would increase the country’s food security, which would in turn reduce reliance on billions of dollars worth of annual food imports.
Now two Namibians, Manfred Likoro and Marbleise Serfontein, are organising the first-ever Food Namibia Trade Expo and Conference, which aims to bring together key stakeholders in government and the agricultural and food production industries to discuss crucial issues concerning the future and sustainability of domestic food production. The proposed dates for the expo, which is set to take place in Rundu, are June 7 to 10, and will be held under the theme “Food security for a healthy nation.”
Businesses or institutions operating within the spheres of agriculture and food processing, including manufacturing, production, farming, retailing, distribution and investment, have been invited to participate. “We have also invited communal farmers to take part with the specific goal of getting them to think like commercial farmers. Value addition is also one of the key aspects we will discuss,” said Likoro.
The objectives of the expo include showcasing crop production and products in the Kavango East Region and the entire country.
Organisers hope that the expo will create awareness and serve as a platform for networking and matchmaking. In addition, the expo aims to launch local products into new markets and hopes to establish and develop training regimes for capacity building in the local agriculture and food production industries.
According to Likoro, the expo will also incorporate ‘Operation Werengendje’, which is an all-inclusive food production programme initiated by Kavango East Region in 2016. The operation was established to assist Kavango East residents to produce their own crops in order to become self-sufficient and ensure food security in the region.
“All crop producers are expected to participate and all service providers have been engaged to come together in this operation. These are the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the green schemes, farmers unions and associations and private tractor owners,” Likoro explained.
He added that the project aims to serve as an example and motivation for other regions in the country to come up with concrete action plans towards food production and security.