The Deputy Minister of Agriculture Water and Forestry, Anna Shiweda, has expressed gratitude to the Japanese government for its continuous support in Namibia’s quest to eradicate poverty and hunger.
Shiweda made the remarks during the handing over of the Northern Crop and Livestock Development Master Plan study report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Windhoek on Thursday.
The project aims to introduce market-oriented agriculture for small-scale farmers in order to uplift the lives of such farmers by enhancing productivity and market access. The project started in 2014 targeting the four regions in the north, namely Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto and Ohangwena.
Five experts dispatched by the JICA provided technical assistance to their Namibian counterparts.
The event was witnessed by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Namibia, Hideyuki Sakamoto, Permanent Secretary in the agriculture ministry Percy Misika, Japan First Secretary Kaoru Yokotani, JICA Namibia’s Shunsuke Nakamura, Kirioka Kubata and project team leader Shigeya Otsuka.
In a statement read on her behalf by the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Planning, Marketing and Administration, Esther Kaapanda, Shiweda applauded the government of Japan and the JICA in particular for assisting the ministry in the formulation of the Livestock and Crop Production Master Plan.
She also thanked the officials of the ministry who played a significant role in coordinating and collating information during the write-up of the master plan and also stakeholders who contributed towards the process.
She reiterated the commitment of the government to support and to ensure sustainable implementation of the master plan, in order to continue improving both crop and livestock production of small-scale farmers in the country.
On his part, Sakamoto said he is pleased with the cooperation between the government and the ministry of agriculture and he hopes the relationship between the two governments will expand.
Since independence, the Japanese government has among others implemented the 2nd Kennedy Round (KR-2) programme that provided agricultural inputs, machinery and implements to the ministry, during 1990.
The Japanese government also facilitated capacity building for staff of the ministry in rice production, and also the training of staff in the Small Holders Horticulture Empowerment Promotion Approach.
Besides that, the JICA in collaboration with the University of Namibia assisted the implementation of a research project titled Food and Drought Adaptive Cropping System to Conserve Water Environment in Semi-arid Regions. The information obtained through this research project was shared with the ministry and will be incorporated in the implementation of the master plan to maximise synergies.