Government has implemented several policies and programmes as well as increased the budget spent on the agricultural sector to support emerging farmers.
However, such programmes and other attempts by government and development agencies appear to have exacerbated rather than alleviating the difficulties emerging farmers face.
This is so, as many initiatives aimed at improving the lives of emerging farmers, such as convenient credit facilities, are not being used optimally for the right purposes.
To date, emerging farmers who are still living below the poverty line are faced with difficulties in migrating into commercial agriculture. The failure of several attempts by the government to integrate emerging farmers into the commercial agricultural economy has increased the need for a thorough understanding of these challenges that emerging farmers face.
A better understanding of specific factors that limit the development of emerging farmers is crucial to effectively prepare policies, development strategies, programmes and models aimed at supporting and enhancing the transition of emerging farmers into commercial agricultural farming.
Namibia can no longer afford to run the risk of development programmes and policy intervention aimed at emerging farmers that do not work seemingly not because the challenges emerging farmers face were not correctly identified. Commercialisation of emerging farmers is a crucial topic for the current times in Namibia.
But the Namibian agricultural economy has little room for emerging farmers. There is no strong support system available to support previously disadvantaged farmers, causing such farmers to be unable to take advantage of the various opportunities that the government has been instituting.
Those farming in the country’s underdeveloped rural areas find it difficult to participate in commercial markets because of a range of constraints.
Attempts by farmers to market their commodity are mostly affected by poor infrastructure, inadequate property, low education levels amongst the farmers, lack of credit access, absence of innovative production implements needed to increase yield of commodity produced and poor entrepreneurial skills needed to make the efforts of the farmers a success.
Poor financial planning and limited access to legal resources make it difficult for emerging farmers to change negative market factors individually. As a result, emerging farmers continue to be trapped in a cycle of operating within the given market from which their agricultural activities do not receive rewards.
The emergent agricultural sector in Namibia has the potential to contribute to the growth of rural areas, and the reduction of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. The potential of emerging farmers to participate in this sector is untapped. Emerging farmers do not participate in markets that yield high returns.
For emerging farmers to contribute to rural development and transit into the commercial farming sector, the above-mentioned aspects need to be addressed effectively.
The majority of the produce by the farmers is sold to informal markets with low market value. How do we go around this? The distance to output markets is an important factor. Long distances to the market can be discouraging to farmers who want to commercialise.
Lest drastic changes occur; the situation could become permanent and the damage irreversible.