Strategic policy emphasis needs to be directed to intensive agriculture – Schlettwein
To make real progress toward food self-sufficiency, and become food secure, strategic policy emphasis will now be directed at intensive agriculture, the Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein said this week.
It should be on the back of agricultural mechanisation and modernisation to de-risk the sector from historical over-dependence on rain-fed activity and exposure to variable climatic conditions, he said on the occasion of the Bank Windhoek online agriculture series.
According to Schlettwein, the objective is to grow the agricultural sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product.
“But more importantly we recognize that, as a direct and indirect source of livelihoods for about 70% 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.