16 Apr 2018 16:40pm
WINDHOEK, 16 APR (NAMPA) Education, skills development and technical training are central to agricultural production and rural employment in every country, according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Percy Misika.
He said this on Friday while officiating at the handing over of certificates to 11 trainees who completed a six-month training programme in small scale irrigation at the Tsumis Arid Zone in the Hardap Region.
Misika, in his speech availed to Nampa on Monday, said in order to accelerate growth of agriculture in Namibia, the Namibian Government recognised the importance of increasing investments in human capital development by capacitating interested Namibians, in particular the youth, through Vocational Education Training (VET).
Vocational training in agriculture was previously non-existent in Namibia and this contributed to the lack of a semi-skilled workforce in the agricultural sector, he said.
He further noted that with 25 per cent of the Namibian population being represented by youth in the 15-34 age group, and an unemployment rate of 37,5 per cent, Namibia has a large pool of labour force to achieve economic transformation.
Misika said the biggest challenge faced in Namibia is that the youth are the most unskilled and inexperienced segment of the population.
According to the Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA) 2016 Labour Force Survey report, 20,1 per cent of the total population is employed in the agriculture sector.
Nevertheless, only 11,2 per cent of the people working in the agriculture sector are skilled, meaning 88,8 per cent are unskilled, the permanent secretary said.
Misika added that in order to address the skills gaps in the agriculture sector, the government through the agriculture ministry identified the Tsumis Arid Zone Agricultural Centre in Hardap and Mashare Agricultural Development Institute in the Kavango East Region as Government training institutions.
The VET training programme in agriculture, with the support of the Namibia Training Authority, are implemented at these centres.