WINDHOEK – Before horticulture products became controlled crops, produced by the country and within the country, there was a meagre five percent but today this has increased to 47 percent, says the minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Alpheus !Naruseb.
The minister was bidding former Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Agronomic Board [NAB] Christof Brock farewell as well as welcoming the new CEO, Dr Fidelis Nyambe Mwazi.
White maize production figures also doubled under Brock’s leadership testifying to his commitment to Namibian growth in terms of the agronomy and horticulture industries. More, the reward to the best producer grew from only one Master Agronomist for commercial farmers to five more awards that include small scale farmers as well for their initiatives. When he started at the NAB, the reserves of the NAB stood at N$2 million. Under his leadership, it grew to almost N$50 million. In 2015, part of those reserves were ploughed back into the industry and today Christof leaves the NAB with an almost N$10 million in the Reserve Fund,” says the minister.
MAWF enjoyed good and smooth working relations with NAB during Brock’s tenure, as the CEO and at times things appeared quite “heated” but never personal. “Christof, I am sure that we will still tap from your wisdom and experience in the future. For now just enjoy your time in retirement,” says the minister to Brock retiring after 17 years.
Incoming CEO, Dr Mwazi is not a stranger to the NAB in particular and the agronomic industry in general, having been the National Horticulture manager at the NAB from 2013 to 2015 before starting with the Agricultural Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) from 2015 to this year as senior manager for Standards and Trade Division. He now returns with a doctorate degree in crop science coupled with industrial experience in Market Share Promotion.
Dr Mwazi is the first black CEO in history starting at one of the Agricultural Boards. “I believe that there will be high expectations of you from all folks of life in the industry to keep the momentum left by your predecessor,” says the minister. He added there is expectation for Mwazi “to accelerate creating a marketing environment that is conducive to growing and processing crops in Namibia in order to increase local food production, enhance value addition and ensure food security”.
“With your tested varsity experience in the agronomic and horticulture industry combined with your qualifications, I am convinced and have no doubt that the Namibian Agronomic Board and the entire industry is in capable hands. I am also confident that you will strive to uphold the core values of integrity, teamwork, fairness, independent thinking, pro-activity and accountability.”
The minister further trust that Dr Mwazi will engender good relationships with all stakeholders, particularly farmers and traders in Namibia, to take the agronomic and horticulture industry to greater heights, urging him to work hand-in-hand with the livestock industry, to ensure highly integrated and coordinated agricultural development interventions that maximise complementarities and synergies as the irrigation could assist in the provision of livestock fodders taking into consideration our climatic conditions due to climate changes.
!Naruseb assured Dr Mwazi of his and the ministry’s unwavering support to the NAB, inviting him to engage the ministry for assistance in driving the agronomic and horticulture industry to greater heights. The minister urges stakeholders to render their individual and collective support to Mwazi and his team, so that the country realises its vision for the sector.