Subsistence farmers urged to become agricultural entrepreneurs

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-Namibia needs a complete turnaround strategy to transform subsistence and communal farmers into agricultural entrepreneurs through modernisation and mechanisation of the sector, says the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU).

NNFU also says government needs to increase efforts aimed at developing more feedlots, increasing the capacity of local abattoirs and establishment of meat processing facilities for export processed meat.

NNFU President, Jason Emvula, stated during a press conference that the quality of products has to improve and become more competitive on the markets. “At the heart of the proposed turnaround strategy of the industry is the need to overhaul existing policy framework and effective collaboration between the private, public and the non-state actors,” remarked Emvula.

He said as per their policy brief that is available to the public and the media, their research found strong evidence on the need for the country to diversify markets for livestock and livestock products.

According to Emvula, NNFU strongly advises that policy framework be put in place that provides for detailed and continuous research into the identification and development of new markets within the country. “Intra-continental trade presents a huge economic opportunity for Namibia and African countries at large and it must be encouraged,” Emvula added.

In addition, Emvula said NNFU is of the opinion that while export of livestock on the hoof into South Africa has been a lucrative opportunity, this is not going to be the best option going into the future. Emvula said developing feedlots, increasing the capacity of local abattoirs and establishment of meat processing facilities creates more jobs ad eventually generates more revenue for the country while offering an outlet for local livestock. “For the northern communal areas livestock producers that cannot access lucrative markets for chilled and fresh red meat, NNFU would like to encourage that government and institutions implement commodity-based trading, as opportunities exist for export of processed and canned meat,” stated Emvula.

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