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The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has called on stakeholders in the industry to be content with the disruptions brought by geo-political tension in the supply of basic foodstuffs.

Carl Schlettwein was speaking at the Inter-sectoral coordination and technical exchange workshop on food security and agronomic support.

"Our country has enormous potential, not only to feed itself and eliminate hunger and food insecurity but to also be a major player in global food markets. This potential lies in its land, water and oceans, in its men and women, in its knowledge and global market. Recognizing this opportunity, the Namibian Government chose agriculture as one of the drivers of economic growth."  

Namibia has a population of just more than 2.6 million people.

However, despite the increase in rural-to-urban migration, more than 70 percent of the country's population still live in rural areas, who are largely depending on agriculture as a form of employment and livelihood.

At the opening of the workshop, Schettwein did not provide figures on how many rural dwellers face abject hunger but stated that agriculture is a sector that continues to contribute towards eradicating poverty and hunger.

Schlettwein wants stakeholders to consider opportunities provided by the country's diversified ecosystems, and low population, including the rising global food demand and the positive trends for new sources of development funding.

According to multi-dimensional poverty statistics of 2021, the figure for rural poverty stood at 59 percent.

But Schlettwein encourages decision-makers to provide the incentives needed to ensure that farmers make their farming business a success and contribute to increased food production.

 "The country will boost its food production in the country once the envisaged 2500 Ha for Katima farm/Liselo in Zambezi Region and 5 000 ha at Neckartal Dam in ||Kharas Region are fully developed into the 6 irrigation scheme. The new land development has the potential to make Namibia a net exporter of staple food and horticulture produce which will contribute to food security in the region."

The three-day workshop will discuss best practices in areas such as food and nutrition security with a view to creating resilient and sustainable food systems and livelihoods. 

In addition, the workshop will also address the development of stronger marketing channels and partnerships between smallholder producers and the public and private sectors.

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NBC Digital News

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Emil Seibeb