VP wants youth to play a part in agricultural and economic transformation

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

Vice President Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has called on young people to participate in the agricultural sector and contribute to the overall economic transformation.

She said this on Wednesday at the Omaludi Agricultural Festival, which is underway in Okongo, in the Ohangwena Region.

Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the festival patron, said it is highly encouraging that, of late, more young people are interested in agriculture, as opposed to the past, when agriculture was seen as dirty work reserved for the elderly and the uneducated.

“Agriculture will remain one of the important sectors of our economy, especially when more than 80 percent of the people in the country depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Therefore, we must encourage our youth to study agriculture as a subject, from the secondary level up to the tertiary level. It is only through this way that our country can have adequate human resources capacity to improve food production for food security and nutrition for our people and reduce food imports from other countries,” she said.

According to her, the government wants to see an increase in the number of agricultural graduates.

She added that Namibians must fully understand that the country needs a skilled workforce, and the agriculture sector is no exception, for real development and prosperity to become a reality.

“We are aware that Namibia’s agriculture sector faces numerous challenges. Therefore, we can only succeed when we embark on new scientific approaches to agricultural production, including smart agriculture. This can only be achieved if we have adequate human and institutional capacity with a skilled, qualified, knowledgeable, and committed workforce,” she urged.

She further encouraged Namibians to change their focus from mere agricultural production to adding value to agricultural products.

Nandi-Ndaitwah believes that by doing so, people will be able to improve agricultural products, create wealth and jobs, and accelerate the country’s socio-economic development.

“The government is working on special subsidies for agriculture. There are also opportunities whereby financial institutions such as the AgriBank of Namibia provide financial resources to those who may need support. The government has also constructed abattoirs in the northern regions, such as Omusati, Ohangwena, and Kavango East, to enable our farmers to have access to meat processing facilities. The idea is to create a market for the farmers in those areas,” she alluded.

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