KEETMANSHOOP - The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Percy Misika says the challenge of access to agricultural inputs need to be addressed if Namibian farmers are to farm efficiently and more productively.
The ministry held the Namibia Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project (Namsip) regional inception workshop at Keetmanshoop on Tuesday. In a speech read on his behalf by the project director, Johanna Andowa, Misika indicated that it is of utmost importance to put farmers in a position where they have quick access to agricultural inputs such as machinery.
He said many a time, farmers especially those in rural areas do not have easy access to such inputs, and this leads to farmers not doing things properly and on time, as he urged farmers to embrace the project, saying it is aimed at structural transformation through increased agricultural production and value addition.
“One key challenge affecting food security in Namibia is the inability of rural producers to timely access agricultural inputs such as seed, farm machinery and equipment that are required for effective land preparation and so on, this challenge negatively affects production, post-harvest handling and marketing,” he said.
He feels the mechanisation component of the project will enable farmers to complete farming operations in a timely manner, especially in the crop producing regions where rain fed farming is practiced, while it will also help increase productivity and reduce the cost of cultivation, adding that the project is also vital in ensuring timely availability and accessibility of quality certified seed by farmers.
In this vein, he urged farmers to come on board and ensure that it is sustainable, as he called on all present at the workshop to spread the message and inform all farmers about the project, adding that farmers should be well prepared to ensure that they are able to participate in the project.
//Kharas governor in her brief remarks also emphasised the need for food security in the country, stating that due to climate change, it is getting difficult for many rural folks and even commercial farmers to produce food, and it is therefore imperative that other methods are looked at.
“I must acknowledge that we are facing severe climate change which makes it difficult for rural communities to produce food, and we are therefore optimistic that improved seeds and new strategies will improve food security in our rural communities,” she said.
The project focuses on agricultural mechanisation, livestock and seed improvement in efforts to stimulate high quality production and market access for crops and livestock products from small and medium-scale agricultural producers, as well as agro-processors.