Agriculture sector records growth in Q1 amid COVID-19 pandemic
Xinhua – The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein on Thursday told experts that the country’s agriculture sector grew by more than 42.7% in the first quarter of this year despite a challenging period inflicted by COVID-19, thanks to the good rains.
He however acknowledged that they have recorded a slow down in growth in the sector which employs more than 60% of the population in the past year due to drought.
Schlettwein said the agriculture sector specifically (agriculture, forestry and fishing) registered a contraction of 2.6% in 2019 compared to a decline of 1.9% registered in 2018.
According to the minister, the downward trajectory in the sector has been coming for some time and must be a matter of concern.
“For 2019, the decline was predominantly driven by both crop farming and the livestock sub-sectors that recorded contractions in real value added of 13.5% and 6.7% respectively. Overall GDP share of the agricultural sector now stands at only 3.9%, down from about 7% in 2006,” he said.
Schlettwein said the growth this year was achieved mainly due to better rainfall, and improved and diversified crop production and it indicates that the sector has good potential for sustainable growth.
“Agriculture is one of most important sectors. The majority of the population is dependent directly or indirectly on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods. Livestock farming contributes to approximately two-thirds of agricultural production, with crop farming and forestry making up the remaining third of production,” he said.
He added that the export of live animals, mostly cattle, sheep and goats, has historically contributed to about two-thirds of agricultural exports by value. In 2019, Namibia exported about 12,400 tons of meat.
Meat from Namibia is exported to countries including South Africa, the United States and China.