The ministry of agriculture recently launched N$2.5 million regional agricultural policy (RAP) in support of the operationalization of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional agricultural policy.
The SADC policy is known as STOSAR for Namibia located within the regional body’s sustainable and equitable economic growth and development agenda. It aimed at enhancing agricultural information and improving market excess.
In a speech read on his behalf at the launch, agriculture executive director Percy Misika said under the project, crop pests and transboundary animal diseases affecting trade and livelihoods within the region will be tackled.
He said the pests to be tackled include tuta absoluta, fall armyworm, fruit fly, maize lethal necrotic diseases and banana fusarium wilt, while the trans-boundary diseases include foot-and-mouth; peste des petits ruminants and the highly pathogenic avian influenza.
“Agriculture remains central to poverty reduction, growth, food and nutrition security in the country, and the ministry is mandated to work closely with all farming households to ensure food and nutrition security at national and household level,” said Misika.
Misika said RAP will also focus on enhancing sustainable agricultural production, productivity and competitiveness, improve regional and international trade and access to markets for agricultural products.
He also said this will further improve private and public sector engagement and investment in agricultural value chains and reduce the social-economic vulnerability of the region’s population in the context of food and nutrition security and climate change.
Also weighing in with the support for the initiative was the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Through their country representative, Farayi Zimudzi, FAO supports the formulation processes of the project and they will assist SADC in sourcing further resources to operationalize the project. She said the project, which has already got funding from the European Union, will run for 33 months.
“The measures taken at the regional and national levels will contribute towards improved rural livelihoods, food security and increased opportunities in trade,” she concluded.