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Finance and Public Enterprises Minister Ipumbu Shiimi says the government is committed to ensuring that investment in agriculture in the Zambezi Region is prioritised.

Shiimi observed that the government is aware that the region has fertile land and that traditional authorities have made land available for agricultural activities.

The Minister made the remarks on Sunday at Chinchimane in Sibbinda Constituency as the Mafwe Community celebrated the annual Lusata cultural festival.

"We want to see more green schemes here, and your government is going to work together with you to see more green schemes in this region. I also know that our people here need some storage facilities; they need the market outlets. We will redouble our efforts to ensure that we meet our people halfway and that their produce is not going to rot. Their produce will have some storage facilities where it can be stored and sold when the market is ready."

Shiimi said that with the Zambezi Region being a gateway to neighbouring countries, it should be a producing hub for Namibia.

In light of this, the government initiated a feasibility study into the extension of the railway line from Grootfontein to Katima Mulilo and, by extension, to Zambia and Botswana.

The completed study found that the railway extension would be viable.

Shiimi noted that what now needs to be done is to design the railway route before actually laying the rails, but he stressed that there is a need for traditional authorities, the private sector, and the government to work together.

"Traditional authorities in this region are working with each other, and I am happy to see that all the Khutas in this region are represented here. This is something that is worth celebrating. I am also aware that there is a Chief's Forum that is established in this region; this is indeed a demonstration of unity that the chiefs in this region are prepared to work together and are prepared to bring their communities together for the sake of unity of purpose for us to develop this region and to develop Namibia at large."

Shiimi believes that the unity of the Mafwe Traditional Authority is a cornerstone of peace and stability in Namibia.

On his part, Zambezi Governor Alufea Sampofu has called out academics in the Zambezi Region for allegedly fueling tribalism. 

Sampofu further cautioned those who still harbour secessionist ideas to refrain.

The governor reminded residents that there are millions of dollars in the cultivation of land and that no one is supposed to go hungry in Zambezi or Namibia.

Sampofu said there is no reason why the region should import tomatoes from Zambia, which uses the same Zambezi River.

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Sililo Mubiana