Food security promised by 2017
The Strategic Plan recently launched by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry promises to enhance food security by the year 2017 with adequate agricultural infrastructure for faster economic development.
Permanent Secretary for the Agriculture ministry Joseph Iita launched the strategic plan at its Windhoek headquarters last week Friday.
The strategic plan forms part of the foundation for the agriculture ministry’s performance management system with monitoring and evaluation and progress reports to be done continuously.
The strategy aims to enhance capacity in growing food locally prioritising four projects in Crop and Horticulture Production with a N$1.5 million budget allocation.
The plan will also support small scale horticulture farmers while addressing livestock productivity challenges.
Twenty three infrastructure development projects are expected to be up and running by the end of the plan at a cost of close to N$3 million while the programme is expected to benefit producers and investors. The number of hectares of land under irrigation is anticipated to increase from 11,000 to 15,000 ha by expanding Green Scheme projects and integrating grain storage facilities.
Grain storage capacity will be increased to 24,000 tonnes in the fifth year form 16,000 tonnes, some of which have already been constructed by the Agro Marketing Trade Agency and the Agronomic Board.
The Permanent Secretary said the Agriculture sector is expected to contribute 4% to growth as envisaged in the fourth National Development Plan. The ministry’s new strategic plan prioritises crop and horticultural production while boosting infrastructure development to ensure optimal use of agricultural land improving the capacity to grow food locally.
The challenges faced by livestock producers in communal areas are to be addressed through dedicated research and development covering both genetics and marketing aspects.
Supporting improved farming conditions is the Rural Water Supply Programmes which depends on the capacity of local communities to operate and maintain these installations.
By the year 2017 the strategic plan must produce outcomes of adequate agriculture infrastructure such as the construction of silos, technology centres and the development of infrastructure in communal areas.
Further elements of the plan include Plant Health and Bio-security Laboratories for enforcing agricultural regulations.
The five-year Strategic Plan is based on the Public Service Planning Framework with consultations from the Office of the Prime Minister which Iita thanked for their outstanding input into the framework which serves as a template for the whole of the public service, ensuring uniformity in all government ministries’ NDP4 outcomes. The strategic plan comes with the appointment of three Permanent Secretaries and several new departments. “Agriculture is a significant part of national development goals as it contributes to job creation, reduces income inequality and [helps] maintain high and sustainable economic growth. This can be achieved through timely project planning, tender advertisement and adjudication, capital project budget execution and general service delivery for all” Iita said. Iita further added that the strategic plan should be a reference to stakeholders, institutions of higher learning and a guide for agricultural investment and growth in the agriculture sector. “I would also like to state that this Strategic Plan is not cast in stone, meaning it must keep track with the government’s overall objectives in the dynamic environment that affects our operations.”