WINDHOEK - Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, on Friday said government intervention in the agricultural sector will continue to be substantial during the next three years, until 2021, government plans to invest about N$3.6 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) into the development of this sector. While speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Asparagus Agro-Processing Factory, by Otjimbele Agriculture, at Ruacana in the Omusati Region, she said the sector in which Otjimbele has chosen to invest is a key sector of the economy due to its growth and employment-generation potential.
Otjimbele Agriculture commenced with a trial research study for the plantation of asparagus in Omusati in 2015, which proved the viability of growing the rare crop in that part of the country.
“Globally, agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. Growth in the agriculture sector is two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the poorest compared to other sectors and 65 percent of poor working adults make a living through agriculture,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
She noted that other key government initiatives in the agricultural sector include the continued promotion and expansion of the Green Scheme, increased investment in agricultural training and continued promotion of National Horticulture Development Initiative with a view to increase the share of local products and to promote value addition.
Government adopted the Green Scheme Policy in 2008 to improve national food security and propel agricultural production. The Green Scheme initiative encourages the development of irrigation based agronomic production with the aim of increasing the contribution of agriculture to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and to simultaneously achieve the social development and upliftment of communities. It also aims at harnessing the resources of government and other stakeholders in order to increase agriculture productivity and social development as envisaged in Harambee Prosperity Plan, NDP5 and Vision 2030. Currently, 11 Green Scheme irrigation Projects have been implemented in the country.
“As a government, we envision a private sector led economic growth in order to realise sustainable economic development and accelerated employment creation in the country. This requires us to see increased foreign direct and domestic investments in various sectors of our economy which should naturally result not only in increased business activities but also in the creation of new jobs and speedy eradication of poverty,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stated.
“The challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequalities require a faster and more equitable economic growth. It is only through faster and equitable economic growth that we can create more opportunities for employment and achieve more equitable distribution of income. While the government’s fiscal policy is important in stimulating growth, we need the private sector to show greater confidence in our economy, by increasing investments in the economy, and we see numerous opportunities which our country can put forward for various investors to consider,” she said.