Farmers who still use the old traditions are being urged to align themselves with modern technology in order to optimally yield positive results from their crop and livestock production which will bring about economic growth both for themselves and the country at large.
The green economy is seen as one of the best capable driving engines for all industries which is why the emphasis is put on farmers familiarizing themselves with emerging technology to ensure that they produce the best products.
These were the sentiments of Calle Schlettwein, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, during the official opening of the Omaludi festival in Okongo in the Ohangwena Region last week. The annual event is held to celebrate livestock farmers in communal areas.
The Minister said that agriculture is not only a basic need given the fact that we cannot survive without food, water and land, but it is an essential tool in driving the economy of the country such as creating jobs and self-sustainability.
“In order to do this, producers must be given a chance to have an optimal say in the market space value chain, which will then enable them to also benefit,” he said.
The Minister noted that in so doing if producers process and market their products themselves, the profit obtained remains within the country which will then improve the domestic growth which of late has been reported to be lagging due to Namibia importing more compared to exporting goods.
Schlettwein further stated that agriculture needs to be made attractive and profitable in order to attract young people, for he believes young people have the ability to take the sector to the next level given the modern technology that continues to evolve and young people can utilise these opportunities optimally.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister and International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah urged farmers to move away from just being subsistence farmers to commercial farmers in order to add value to the economy, in the pursuit of economic development.
She wants farmers to adopt a concept that will help them in achieving agricultural development, adding that sustainable development with enable economic growth, by creating jobs for skilled, unskilled and semi-skilled people.
The Deputy Prime Minister also urged farmers to avoid shortcuts, lamenting that they are of no good and they are an impediment to economic growth. Farmers should rather concentrate on ensuring that they produce the best products by understanding how the industry operates.
“If you want to do something, do not let challenges colonise your mind, in fact, you must find another way to your challenges,” said Nandi Ndaitwah. The latter reiterated that government will continue to ensure exclusivity for all agriculture role players adding that the government remains committed to playing its role. Additionally, she lauded the role that livestock owners and livestock heads play, urging them to continue doing so, because it is through them that Namibia is regarded as one of the best beef exporters in Africa to Europe.