15 Jun 2017 17:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 15 JUN (NAMPA) The European Union (EU) delegation in Namibia on Friday launched a multi-million dollar programme in support of the livestock sector in the northern communal areas (NCAs) of Namibia.
The EUR 20 million programme (about N.dollars 287 million) was launched during the Namibia National Farmers Union Ordinary Congress held from 08 09 June at Opuwo in the Kunene Region.
The EU said in a media statement the programme came about after wide consultations leading to an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, as implementing institution, to improve the livestock sector in the NCAs.
A participatory and economic inclusive approach that includes various stakeholders will be vital during the implementation phase of this programme and afterwards, the statement said.
The involvement of the private sector is crucial to identify and unlock opportunities, stimulate local value-addition and create employment opportunities, it said.
The programme aims to have a long-term positive impact on the standard of living of rural families in the NCAs, targeting particularly the youth and women.
Support to private sector investment and entrepreneurship in the said areas will be promoted to achieve this.
Benefits will be derived from an expected improvement of the entire value chain from livestock production to the processing of meat and other animal products, the statement said.
The plan is to improve the quality of animals and related products to boost opportunities for NCA farmers to sell their products to both national and international markets.
The funds allocated for the programme will be released by the EU as a grant to Government over a six-year period.
Livestock support in our understanding is the way to get those most in need to move upwards, EU Ambassador to Namibia, Jana Hybaskova was quoted as saying at the launch.
Agriculture Minister, John Mutorwa lauded the EU support as timely, and described it as well-aligned with Namibias Fifth National Development Plan to boost agricultural productivity.
He said the livestock sector is important as it contributes to fighting poverty through the improvement of rural livelihoods and the enhancement of food security.
Although only contributing 3 per cent to the countrys Gross Domestic Product, the sector sustains the majority of the Namibian people with about 70 per cent relying on agricultural activities for income, Mutorwa noted.