Namibia has put agriculture at the forefront of investment opportunities offered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. At the international gathering, Namibia offered four brownfield investments in green scheme projects and investment in one dairy project.
A brownfield investment is when a company or government entity purchases or leases existing production facilities to launch a new production activity. This is one strategy used in foreign direct investment. At the WEF, which ended yesterday, Namibia offered these investments through a competitive bidding process to the domestic private sector as well as international investors with demonstrated capacity to operate the schemes.
Launching requests for proposals for leasing of government green schemes on Wednesday, agriculture deputy minister Anna Shiweda reiterated that government is ready to welcome interested foreign as well as domestic investors to explore business opportunities the country has to offer, in agriculture and other sectors.
She noted that opportunities available in agriculture include the Katima Liselo Green scheme in the Zambezi region, Zone in Kavango West, Neckartal Dam green scheme in //Kharas region, Tandjieskoppe green scheme in //Kharas region and Uvhungu- Vhungu dairy project in Kavango East region.
“While the dairy project is offered on a lease basis, the four brownfield green schemes are available on a Build to Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. These are projects for which land is already secured. Although it is not an eligibility requirement, joint ventures between local and foreign investors are encouraged and supported,” Shiweda clarified.
The deputy minister added that the green scheme programme encourages the development of irrigated agronomic production with a target to place approximately 27 000 hectares under irrigation. The scheme sites are situated beside shared perennial rivers along Namibia’s borders where water is abundant. According to Shiweda, the investments are expected to promote the production of grains (and cereals) as basic staple foods to encourage food self-sufficiency, while allowing investors to diversify production into high-value horticulture, crops and fruits.
Touching on the opportunities the sector has with the new future of green hydrogen in Namibia, Shiweda added it is evident the Namibian agriculture sector also finds itself in peculiar times, through which horizontal integration and synergies the trajectory of high production inputs costs of the agriculture sector could be changed for the positive.
“The ammonia by-product presents a viable investment opportunity for a fertiliser production industry in Namibia to supply affordable fertiliser in the country and for export markets. Affordable desalinated water from the green hydrogen industry could be utilised to increase irrigation production. Lower cost power from renewable sources would potentially improve the business cases for many primary and processing agricultural industries,” she noted.
Meanwhile on Tuesday at Namibia’s green hydrogen event in Davos, mines minister Tom Alweendo stated that for over 100 years, Namibia has served as a carbon sink and has hardly benefited from exploring carbon sources as means to industrialise and grow its economy.
“Yet, we have been disproportionally ravaged by climate change. The merciless drought of 2019 still lingers in the recesses of our minds, and the scorching fires of 2021 still smoulder in our hearts. These events reminded us once more, just how vulnerable our agriculturally dependent economy truly is to climate change,” said Alweendo.