05 Feb 2016 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 05 FEB (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry will spend N.dollars 20 million on subsidies for dry land crop farmers to purchase maize, pearl millet, bean and groundnuts seeds and fertiliser from local registered suppliers.
In a media statement issued on Friday, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa noted that the ministry has tasked the Agro Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) to implement this scheme in an effort to ensure food security in Namibia.
The subsidy only applies to maize, pearl millet, bean and groundnut seeds as well as related fertilisers. The subsidy will cover 50 per cent of the input cost per hectare for the current season. Farmers will be subsidised up to a maximum of 50 hectares. The beneficiary will only benefit once from the subsidy scheme, he noted.
The weak rainfall over the past two years has had a negative impact on the livelihood of crop and livestock farmers in Namibia.
The objective of the scheme is to assist farmers in crop areas (resettled, Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS) and commercial farmers) south of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF), namely Omaheke, Otjozondjupa Regions and the southern part of the Oshikoto Region through the provision of subsidised inputs (seed and fertilisers).
Farmers can register at any of the following Government agencies: the 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 told Nampa in December 2015 when the ministry first made the announcement that people did not farm with the seeds in 2014 because of the drought that same year. He urged farmers to avoid selling the seeds or transferring them to irrigation farmers, saying the seeds and fertilisers are certified and can last up to two years or more if taken care of properly.
Mutorwa also 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.
I hereby appeal to all targeted crop producers to cooperate with the ministry as well as AMTA in the implementation of these modalities to ensure food security at household and national levels, he added.
Agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to the countrys economy, contributing about five per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP).