• February 25th, 2020

Agri-food sector below target

WINDHOEK - The agri-food sector is at a level much below the targets contained in the economic progression pillar of the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5).

The importance of inter-ministerial coordination at that sector level is often emphasised, but Namibia never had an inter-ministerial coordinating committee for the agri-food sector.  

This information is contained in the report of the Namibia scoping analysis towards the formulation of a National Agriculture Investment Plan for the Agri-food sector in Namibia.

The report shows that Namibia has a range of planning frameworks that address the agricultural sector, but none that could be called a true comprehensive sector-wide strategy.

It states that this is because NDP5’s pillar of economic progression is too wide and also includes mining, manufacturing and other industries.

The goal of the economic progression pillar is to achieve inclusive, sustainable and equitable growth for the Namibian society.

The economic progression sub-component called the agricultural sector and food security is too narrow, as it focusses on production and leaves out, among others, value chain development and support to agro-processed goods (under sub-component manufacturing sector) as well as rural economic development and land tenure (sub-component rural economic development).

The report indicates that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Strategic Plan is narrower still, as it focusses on public sector action, and it is the plan of just one ministry, with other sector-relevant activities of (among others) ministries of land reform and fisheries captured in their respective strategic plans.
Namibian stakeholders, both from within and outside government, emphasised the lack of synergy between different actors and activities, as one of the main reasons why sector growth has been disappointing and is even in decline in recent years. 

They also said it points to the lack of coordination as a common challenge, whether within the ministry, between ministries, in government as a whole, or between state and non-state actors as well as among development partners. 

The report suggests that a comprehensive strategy for the sector could provide a framework for the kind of coordinated implementation that is needed.  

Stakeholders underscored that the scope of such a framework should aim to balance production and marketing, avoiding a narrow interpretation of agricultural growth as being driven predominantly by more production. 

In fact, it was pointed out that opportunities are lost, especially in the interface between production and marketing. 

Following the brainstorming session in April 2019 and from interviews with resource persons, it is evident that there is a consensus around the agri-food sector as the most appropriate scope for a National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) to ensure that value chains are captured, and that sufficient synergy is generated across investments and activities. 

One cause of the current loss of synergy is that the agricultural sector suffers from poor coordination between actors, between institutions and interventions. 

“There is no agriculture sector working group that assembles public and private actors on one platform; development partners in agriculture do not hold regular meetings; there is no parliamentary committee on agriculture; and government and development partners do not hold joint sector reviews,” the report shows.
Thus, stakeholders welcome a comprehensive sector-wide strategy that guides all interventions in the sector provided NDP-5 is taken as the departure point; and that the cycle of such a strategy is one and the same to that of the NDP. 

The report proposes this would give all stakeholders a framework against which to coordinate action and measure progress, adding that coordination and implementation mechanisms, however, would need to be strengthened and established.  

Albertina Nakale
2019-08-15 07:29:23 | 6 months ago

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