09 Oct 2013 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 09 OCT (NAMPA) - Agricultural production is foreseen to be the basis for future industrialisation in Namibia, hence agri-businesses and agro-industries should determine the pathway for the agriculture-led economic transformation.
This was said in a speech delivered by the Under Secretary of the Namibia Investment Centre in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Bernadette Artivor, on behalf of Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein at the Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO)s outlook conference here on Wednesday.
The conference was held in honour of the LPOs 50th anniversary.
The strategic importance of agriculture (which includes the livestock sector in particular) is evident through its selection as one of the priority areas under the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) and in the National Industrial Policy, Schlettwein indicated.
He noted that it is the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to implement policies and strategies to enhance agricultural production in a sustainable manner. This is in line with the achievements of the national goals of food security, poverty reduction and rural development as embedded in the National Agricultural Policy.
According to Schlettwein, the Ministry of Trade and Industrys Growth at Home strategy is based on local value addition, especially to agricultural raw materials.
Value addition in agriculture has two components, namely value addition through production (producer value addition) and value addition to primary agricultural products (processor value addition).
Growth at Home is a theme introduced by the Trade Ministry to reinforce the importance of accelerating economic growth, reducing income inequality and increasing employment. Ministry of Trade and Industrys programmes are geared towards removing supply side constraints, increase productive capacity, and increasing the competitiveness of Namibian industry in the domestic, regional and international markets.
Schlettwein said Namibia needs the foreign exchange obtained from the local meat value chain exports. However, given that about 80 per cent of local production is either exported as primary beef cuts, lamb carcasses and live exports on the hoof, it is unfortunate that a lot of (specifically) secondary and tertiary value addition in the meat sector takes place outside Namibia. This equates to exporting local employment opportunities to countries outside the borders, while the dividends of value addition is not repatriated back to the country and especially back to the livestock producers.
In addition, taking into account the limited range of locally produced value addition meat products in general; this does not sit well with our Growth at Home strategy, and this will have to change. As evidence, my ministry has recently instituted support measures for the broiler and dairy industries as part of this strategy, he noted.
Public-private partnerships are central to the strategy, according to Schlettwein, and his ministry recognises the strategic role of the LPO in this process to eventually achieve the countrys national goals.
The conference was held under the theme Cornerstone for Growth.