Africa's investment in food production low - First Lady

16 Apr 2014 16:10pm
WINDHOEK, 16 APR (NAMPA) – First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba says the level of Africa’s investment in food production is very low, and Namibia is no exception.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of a one-day Organisation of African Unity (OAU)/African Union (AU) Golden Jubilee, underway in the capital on Tuesday, Pohamba said food-processing is an area which is seriously neglected in Africa.
“Africa has great potential in agriculture, but the focus is given to mining and mineral/oil extraction, the First Lady said, adding that women’s empowerment in agriculture remains the backbone of food security in Africa.
“We have food security in Namibia, but food security without sufficient local productive capacity creates a perpetual dependency on our big brother, South Africa, to maintain that security,” she stated.
Pohamba noted that Africa is very rich in natural resources, with a highly fertile soil as the basis for its strong agricultural base.
She said food self-sufficiency and food security should be consolidated with efficiency in food production to ensure an eventual reduction in food imports.
“Some will argue that Namibia has enough money to pay for food imports. What will happen when the mineral resources are depleted?” Pohamba questioned.
Speaking at the same occasion, Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa said ensuring food security, food availability and food self-sufficiency at household level is absolutely important.
“There might be enough food in the market, but it does not automatically translate into food security and/or food self-sufficiency for the individuals at household level,” he said.
The minister said the Namibian Government has been funding and implementing programmes and projects in the agronomic and livestock sectors, with the objective to ensure food security and food self-sufficiency in the country.
Mutorwa, however, pointed out that Namibia's potential for arable agriculture or irrigation agriculture is limited to the north-eastern parts of the country, such as the Kavango East and West regions and the Zambezi Region.
The OAU/AU golden jubilee was celebrated under the theme: 'Women, Agriculture and Food Security.'