Rundu-Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa is encouraging farmers to work hard in their mahangu and maize fields to produce more food for the country.
Mutorwa did the urging in his keynote address at a two-day food expo held in Rundu on September 8-9 September where various businesses in the agriculture and food industry marketed their produce and food products, some from as far as Zimbabwe. The expo was initiated by Food Namibia.
“Of course we can depend on others for other things but the production of food, first and foremost, must be the responsibility of a particular country and its own individuals, farmers,” said Mutorwa.
He said everybody was looking at Zimbabwe’s economy, adding that when the heavens opened they got a bumper harvest and are “back at least in terms of food production”.
Referring to the growth at home strategy, Mutorwa said one of the items that must be in the Namibian House is food because many times people just look at money but food is money as well.
“You consume and for the surplus you sell you get money so that is growth at home – we must first grow at home in our household and then in our country as a whole, and then what we produce we add value to and when we export we get foreign exchange.”
Mutorwa told farmers and the nation that the government has a dry/rain fed land crop production programme that they can make use of, as it is there to assist them with subsidised inputs like seeds, fertilisers, ploughing, planting, weeding and ripping services.
“When Governor Samuel Mbambo came up with Operation Werengendje, we said this is good because that programme is not implemented in Windhoek. All this government support is decentralised; the subsidised tractors are in the regions; the money that is budgeted for this programme is implemented through the regional governors’ offices and the regional councillors,” Mutorwa noted.
With programmes like Operation Werengendje and Operation Tulongeni launched last year, and Operation Katemo launching soon in Kavango West, councillors work with regional governors.
A subsidy from the government is also added to funds from elsewhere for a bigger budget for extension services via constituency councillors to assist farmers in the various constituencies to plough and plant crops with subsidised tractor services.
All these operations seek to sensitise the community on the need for them to take farming seriously to produce food.