Renowned Brahman breeder Justus Tjirimuje of farm Omusorokuumba near Okahandja in the Otjozondjupa region has urged the government to increase investment in agriculture in order to create jobs and ensure food security.
The country’s unemployment is estimated at 34% and produces about only 40% of what it consumes and is therefore highly dependent on imports.
Namibia imports includes various categories of vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, tea, spices, seed of wheat, maize, malt, sunflower seed and oil, margarine, prepared foods, bulgar wheat, sweet biscuits and all types of juices and water.
Tjirimuje the owner Tjiri Brahman Stud noted that increased investment in agriculture would improve small farmers’ productivity and income through value chain development and encouragement of farmers’ cooperative groups.
“I urge whoever is to be appointed as the minister of agriculture in a few weeks’ time to put a strong emphasis on farming. A nation that cannot feed itself is a failed nation. A government that does not provide food and energy to its people is a failed government,” said Tjirimuje who specialises in white and red Brahman.
He reiterated the need for investments in machinery, infrastructure, agro-processing, research, and every sector of the economy that is capable of supporting a massive revolution in agriculture.
“Government should make loans cheaper for farmers, make the environment more conducive. Most of the challenges need to be solved so that we can maximise the potential available in the agri sector,” he said.
“We cannot become competitive with a high loan interest rate, but we can become competitive when the loans are coming between five to 10%. Those are some of the things that are making things easier for farmers in other countries.”
The well-respected farmer also lament the current resettlement policy calling on government to start allocating resettlement farms to people who can farm instead of those who just want farms.
“The current allocation of resettlement farms is a disaster, it needs to be revisit, how can you allocate someone without livestock farming land? Land must be used productively if allocated to people with farming expertise,” he said.