Windhoek-In view of increasing concerns over market volatility and food security Johannes Möller, president of AgriSA, is strongly advising Namibia to return to the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) as a member.
Möller extended this advice during his recent visit to Namibia and just after South Africa made headlines when Dr Theo de Jager, a past deputy president of AgriSA, was elected president of the WFO.
The WFO is an organisation through which the interests of especially small-scale farmers are conducted at international policy forums to manage price fluctuations and market opportunities better.
It was established in 2011 and Namibia was one of more than seventy members but later gave up its membership.
Möller tells Farmers Forum that Namibia’s agricultural sector stands to benefit greatly by becoming a member of the WFO again.
He stresses that the WFO aims to improve farmers’ livelihoods and the viability of rural communities around the world. Without farmers living and working in rural areas, many people would leave these regions. And yet farmers face more and more challenges, such as climate change and are being confronted by high input costs.
Their returns from the market are also shrinking given the huge buying power of supermarkets.
He says there’s a need to improve farmers’ economic viability and positioning in the food chain to ensure a dynamic, competitive agriculture sector throughout the world.
Möller says in today’s tough circumstances unified voices such as provided by the WFO is vitally important to ensure governments show growth and create regional agricultural models.
He also stresses the importance of ensuring long-term agricultural investment and warned against investments that could fly out of the country in 24 hours.
Möller further emphasises the reality that commercial agriculture in southern Africa is part and parcel of the fourth industrial revolution, where corporate involvement is now an integral part of the integration within agricultural value chains. Thus individual commercial agriculture should maintain its competitive advantage at all costs to avoid being absorbed in the current corporative integration process over time.
World-wide, and in southern Africa as well, less fossil fuels are utilised in general, as well as in agricultural production. This in turn means that by-products of the petroleum industry, like fertiliser and plastic, will in future become scarcer.
Hence, natural fibres like cotton and wool, will make a comeback in daily life. Commercial agriculture has an increased responsibility to conserve natural resources, especially water, and to utilise it optimally to ensure sustainable production in future.