Opportunities to unleash natural resources

14 Aug 2019

Namibia could be de-risked against erratic climatic conditions if it can sustainably tap underground water and create green zones as well as create a national climate resilience fund to smooth out the impact of climate volatility. This is the view expressed by Agribank Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua, at the recently concluded Economic Growth Summit in Windhoek.

Nghikembua explained that the country should exploit underground water resources to create green zones and turn traditional crop fields into all year round grain and horticulture sites. He asserts that through the extraction of water from aquifers in Ohangwena, Oshivelo and eastern Zambezi, in addition to tapping water from the Kunene river and redistributing it throughout the northern regions, could encourage diversification of crops and growing fodder.

Nghikembua also referred to the lack of adequate agricultural statistics for northern communal areas. "We need to establish a credible system of collecting agricultural statistics in northern communal areas and plan on the basis of solid information in respect of livestock numbers and crop yields", he stated. Nghikembua further highlighted the current fragmented coordination of the agricultural sector which leads to split efforts and ineffective impact. The Agribank chief intimated that through national coordination, mentorship and training of farmers should be strengthened to improve rangeland management, crop yields, incomes and deliver a positive contribution to the GDP. He therefore calls for establishment of the Chamber of Agriculture to coordinate improved synergies amongst various stakeholders, most notably the government, agricultural farmers’ unions, financial institutions and donors. He highlighted climate resilience through diversification at farm level as an emerging opportunity to ensure that farmers can maximise their income streams.

Nghikembua is of the view that policy options on value addition should focus on competitiveness and sustainability of primary producers. "We need to ensure access to knowledge and skills, access to productive infrastructure such as irrigation, access to expansive markets domestically, regionally and internationally and that policies aid profitability of value-adders", he noted. According to Nghikembua, the overall policy should include incentives to produce, add value and create jobs rather than to force specific behaviors on producers.

Issued by:
Rino Muranda
Manager: Marketing and Communication
For enquiries, kindly contact the Marketing and Communication Division at:
Tel.: 061 2074332
Fax: 061 2074206

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