Guest Contributor | Feb 27, 2024 | 0
Agricultural sector has potential to boost the economy
The potential for the agriculture sector must be unleashed to drive thousands out of poverty by achieving more inclusive growth and raising the share of agriculture’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Since the dissipating effects of the 2019 drought and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agricultural sector has demonstrated its resilience as one of the few sectors which sustained a positive growth trajectory, thus anchoring current and future economic recovery prospects, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein said at an Agricultural Outlook Conference in Windhoek.
“The current high-frequency data obtained from the second quarter GDP for 2022 indicate that the real sector output expanded by about 2% year-on-year, since the rebound by 6.3% in 2020,” he said.
According to Schlettwein, the return to a positive growth trajectory for the national economy sets the necessary condition for the country to realize per capita income gains and reduce poverty and unemployment through growth.
For the sector to increasingly deliver on this transformational agenda, a departure from business as usual is required and a more innovative and partnership approach is required to address the constraints and actively implement growth initiatives in agronomy, horticulture, livestock, and associated value chains within and across the sector, he added.
Meanwhile, Schlettwein said the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and the pass-through effects of the Ukraine-Russia conflict bring forth the needed policy responsiveness for the new normal.
“This new normal predisposes a shift in the policy priority away from relying on trade for food security, towards food self-sufficiency. This policy priority requires much improved productive capacity in agriculture across all the value chains,” he said.
The 2022 Agri Outlook Conference is the first to have been jointly organised by all the farmers’ unions in the sector, that is, the Namibia National Farmers Union, Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union, the Previously Disadvantaged Namibian Farmers Union, and the Namibia Agricultural Union.