It is possible for Namibia to become the “food basket” for its own population. Namibia has a land capacity of 825,615 km2 and approximately 2.48 million people – less populated compared to other countries in Africa. However, despite having large land and a small population we are still dependent on them in terms of food production. I would like to contribute with ideas for our country to secure and enhance food production in all corners of the country. I personally believe the fewer population the more food should be available to each person and everyone can have bread at home. However, it is possible we can all have access to food if we are collectively to work hard and make this country the “food basket” as it is supposed to be.
I fail to understand why we are not having adequate food for our people. Given our environmental conditions, it is possible to massively produce food and even export the surplus food outside the country, rather than depending on food imports as we are doing now. Namibia is a blessed nation with plenty of land, vast natural resources and good water sources, but yet we are not maximising our resources to its full, intended capacity. As a young population associated with abundant land, we can transform the land at our disposal to become valuable in food production, to produce sufficient food for everyone in the country. I appeal to the government to prioritise agriculture at all levels as it is the backbone of the country. There is also a need to attract younger Namibians to study agricultural courses, and our government should play a role here by starting to invest in agricultural institutions to ensure a good foundation of well-trained and qualified artisans to uplift the sector.
Moreover, the government should also assist smallhold farmers, through the provision of training and skill production inputs and extension services to increase agricultural outputs. Another very prominent aspect is that the government should come up with an agricultural incubation system where graduates in the agricultural fields, and anyone else interested in farming, should be supported and provided with resources to enter into small-scale farming production. This aspect should be well coordinated so that these people could be able to market their products directly to government entities such as the Agricultural Marketing and Trading Agency (AMTA). Currently some farmers fail to market their produce because of a lack of markets and this discourages farming.
Another possibility of intensifying agriculture is to increase production at our current green schemes, and also the number of green schemes in the country to ensure more food production. These are the aspects that I feel are important towards making Namibia a food basket of its own.
* Nghishidimbwa Rabban Shihafeleni is a crop science student at the University of Namibia Ogongo Campus