04 Jul 2014 11:00am
WINDHOEK, 04 JUL (NAMPA) - Although Namibia has more livestock in the northern communal areas (NCAs), farmers north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF) contribute only six per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa stated this on Thursday during the launch of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Namibias 35-page report titled Community-based Rangeland and Livestock Management (CBRLM) Sub-activity: Water Infrastructure provided in CBRLM grazing areas.
In a speech read by his deputy Lempy Lucas, Mutorwa said Namibia has more than 2.8 million cattle plus small livestock, which contribute approximately 76 per cent to the overall agricultural output and essentially the countrys GDP.
The Namibian economy depends heavily on its livestock sector, and goats, sheep and cattle easily outnumber the Namibian population of about 2.2 million people.
Disappointingly, only six per cent of the 76 per cent contribution to the agricultural output comes from the communal areas - the rest comes from the commercial areas.
Mutorwa attributed the six per cent contribution to the GDP to the low off-take rates in the NCAs of 3.7 per cent, compared to 25 per cent in the southern regions of Namibia.
According to 2011 estimates by the Directorate of Veterinary Services, there are about 1.6 million cattle in the NCA, and 1.2 million in the areas south of the VCF - a total of 2.8 million cattle in the country.
The minister said the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) aims to achieve average real agricultural growth of four per cent per annum by March 2017.
However, the four per cent growth can only be achieved with targeted developmental efforts, such as removing barriers to livestock trade in the NCAs in order to increase their off-take rate, which has the potential to contribute about N.dollars 64 million to the GDP per year, he said.
Meanwhile, the report presents various aspects of water development undertaken in the NCAs in order to establish or improve existing water delivery for livestock to enable rangeland management to improve.
This document includes background of the CBRLM sub-activities, the current water situation, procurement, environmental issues, infrastructure provided and various appendices such as technical data related to the infrastructure provided.
The United States of America-based MCA came to Namibia on 10 September 2009, and will wrap-up its activities on 05 September this year.
In the agricultural sector alone, MCA-Namibia spent US$ 53 million (approximately N.dollars 567 million) over the past five years.