Agronomic board happy with crop farming in Namibia

23 May 2014 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 MAY (NAMPA) – The Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB) is happy with how crop farming is being run in the local agriculture sector.
Livestock farmers however face difficulties as a result of restrictions placed on livestock exports by South Africa.
The chairperson of the NAB, Kobus van Graan said during the announcement of the new NAB Board members on Monday crop farmers were under huge pressure before the year 2000, when it became questionable whether it would be sensible to continue with the production of maize and wheat.
“Crop farmers in the past received no incentives to produce and felt there was no point to farm with crops, particularly maize and wheat, and therefore we applied leverage to the Act to entice them to grow local production.
“Since the introduction and application of the Agronomic Industry Act, Act 20 of 1992 under which farming activities function, agronomic products have even been declared for horticulture,” he said.
Horticulture is the science and art of producing, improving, marketing, and using fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants.
Van Graan said Namibia produced less than five per cent of what was consumed locally in the past, but today production stands at almost 40 per cent.
“In good years we produced more than 60 per cent of local consumption when it came to white maize production. Twenty-five per cent of wheat was produced which means it was a miracle for Namibia,” he said.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa however said on Monday at the same occasion government hopes to find a solution with the livestock export market or other markets, and will take the challenges faced by the industry step-by-step.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries met in Pretoria on 09 May 2014 to discuss the unilaterally-imposed stringent animal health conditions for exports by the SA government.
He said the deadline for an outcome on the restriction of livestock exports to South Africa would be 31 May 2014.
Mutorwa however indicated that the ministry would not divulge any information on what was discussed at the meeting earlier this month.
The restrictions amongst others require that livestock destined for South African markets must come from the World Veterinary Organisation or ‘the Office International des Epizooties’ (OIE)-declared lung sickness-free zone, while health tests should also be carried out on individual animals for certain diseases and animals should be isolated in quarantine facilities before exporting.