19 Aug 2013 08:00
WINDHOEK, 19 AUG (NAMPA) - The Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) is celebrating its 50th anniversary here on 09 October this year.
In commemoration of the occasion, the LPO will host an outlook conference for the livestock sector under the theme Cornerstone for Growth, the Manager of Commodities at the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), Harald Marggraff said in a media statement issued on Monday.
Although agricultures contribution to the Namibian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) seems relative small compared to some other sectors like mining and tourism, it is an important sector in terms of employment opportunities. The general focus of the conference will be on agriculture in a globalised market, with specific reference to how the Namibian agricultural sector should adapt to these realities, he stated.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa, as well as the Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein will open the event.
Marggraff indicated that about 29 per cent of the total population indicates subsistence farming as their main source of income, while in rural areas the corresponding figure is 48 per cent.
Agricultural product exports contribute roughly 10,7 per cent to the total Namibian exports. Furthermore, agriculture provides input for agro-industries, in particular meat processing, milling and beverages, in that way contributing to secondary employment creation.
He noted that agriculture is the engine of economic growth, and agricultural growth is the cornerstone of poverty reduction. The strategic importance of agriculture is recognised in the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) and the Namibian Industrial Policy.
National, regional and international delegates from governments, producer organisations, agriculture businesses, agro-industries, and other interested role players from various agricultural backgrounds are expected to attend the conference.
The event will also present unique networking opportunities with agriculture representatives and local economy sectors.
A host of high profile speakers are lined up for the event, including Dawie Roodt from the Efficient Group in South Africa; Professor Nick Vink and Professor Louw Hoffman from the University of Stellenbosch; Dr Japie van Zyl from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena in California, United States of America; weather forecaster Dr Willem Landman; and Charl Senekal, a South African farmer.
This will be the first time the LPO hosts such an outlook conference, according to Marggraff.