29 Dec 2015 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 29 DEC (NAMPA) The Namibian Government has availed a scheme worth N.dollars 20 million for the purchase of seeds and fertilizers in an effort to ensure food security.
The weak rainfall over the past two years has been having a negative impact on the livelihood of crop and livestock farmers in Namibia, with many watching their livestock die while being disappointed at the low yield of their harvest.
Agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to the countrys economy, contributing about five per cent to the countrys Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and from 25 to 40 per cent of the population depending on it for an income.
A statement availed to Nampa on Thursday by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, reads that farmers can benefit from a subsidy scheme aimed at encouraging them to grow crops to boost food production and provide an income.
The subsidy that is already in operation allows dry land crop farmers south of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF), to purchase maize, pearl, millet, bean, and groundnuts seeds and fertilizers from registered suppliers within Namibia.
The Agro Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) has been tasked to implement the scheme and farmers can register at any of the following Government agencies: Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB); the Directorate of Agriculture Production, Extension, and Engineering Services (DAPEES); the Directorate of Agricultural Research and Development (DARB); and AMTA regional offices, as well as at constituency offices where applicable.
A Marketing Promotion and Advisory official from AMTA, Gilbert Mulonda spoke to Nampa and urged farmers to avoid selling the seeds or transferring them to irrigation farmers, saying the seeds and fertilizers are certified and can last up to two years or more if properly taken care of.
We realized that last year people did not farm with the seeds because of the drought that year and if the rain does not come, they must store the seeds and not sell them or throw them away because they can still use them next year.
In the statement, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa appealed to all farmers who are set to benefit from the scheme to cooperate with the ministry and AMTA to ensure food security at household and national levels.
He said his ministry and other Government agencies will be monitoring and evaluating the scheme to ensure that the funds are used effectively.
To bring about transparency and accountability, a monitoring and evaluation plan has been proposed. The ministrys directorate of planning and business development in collaboration with the NAB, DAPEES, DARD as well as AMTA will verify crops planted and yield of the beneficiaries for a final report on the success [of the scheme] he said.