According to Namibia’s Minister of Agriculture Calle Schlettwein, in order to make significant strides toward food security and self-sufficiency, strategic policy focus will now be placed on intensive agriculture.
He remarked at the Bank Windhoek online agriculture series that the sector should be de-risked from historical over-dependence on rain-fed activity and susceptibility to fluctuating climatic circumstances on the basis of agricultural mechanization and modernization.
The goal, in Schlettwein’s opinion, is to increase the agricultural sector’s share of the national income.
“But more importantly we recognize that, as a direct and indirect source of livelihoods for about 70 percent of Namibians, the agricultural sector stands the best chance to induce quality and inclusive economic growth and achieving national food and nutrition security as well as food self-sufficiency through poverty reduction potential and the generation of per capita income for individuals and households,” he said.
Furthermore, Schlettwein said this strategic shift underscores the macro-criticality of investment in, and effective stewardship of the water resources as indispensable to enabling growth expansion in the agricultural sector and the economy in general.
“The nexus between water and food security is significant in achieving food security and self-sufficiency. It all starts with water supply security without which socioeconomic development is impossible and the assurance of food security is non-existent. At the national level, investment in affordable and reliable bulk water supply and distribution is critical for the industry, households, and better sanitation for all,” he said.
According to Schlettwein, urban agriculture is yet another dimension that is pursued to strengthen food and nutrition security in the urban centres and gain great latitude of inclusivity through income generation opportunities for the youth and women.
Namibia’s agriculture sector grew by 4 percent in the third quarter of 2021 and 2 percent for the horticultural and livestock sector, according to statistics from the Namibia Statistics Agency.