12 Sep 2018 18:10pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 12 SEP (NAMPA) Agriculture is a key source of food security, jobs, wealth creation and export earnings, Deputy Minister of Finance, Natangwe Ithete has said.
Ithete was speaking at the official opening of the Keetmanshoop Agricultural Industrial and Tourism Expo here on Wednesday.
A productive and competitive agricultural sector is a proven path to poverty eradication and shared prosperity as demonstrated by many countries which have successfully developed and diversified their economies over the past century or so, he said.
The deputy minister said the narrative of Africas agricultural potential or agro-processing potential is one that shows limited outputs and outcomes to date and Namibia is no different.
Agriculture as a share of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) averaged 4,3 per cent over the past 10 years. In fact, this proportion has fallen from 7,2 per cent in 1991 to 4,5 per cent by 2017, Ithete noted.
He further said that the agricultural and industrial dimensions within the expo framework resonate well with the national objective for greater domestic agro-processing and value-addition.
We should greatly expand our productive capacity and productivity levels. Agro-processing and leveraging agricultural value chains must be at the epicentre of our agricultural policy interventions and private sector investments.
He said to address supply and productivity constraints, Government has made numerous investments in the agricultural sector, such as the development of the Neckartal Dam in the //Kharas Region.
Such an investment outlay has the potential to catalyse integrated agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture production in this region, with positive spinoffs for small-scale and large producers. Lucrative industries such as grape and karakul farming should be seen to benefit from this impactful investment, he noted.
Ithete said businesses such as participants of the Keetmanshoop expo have a broader role to play in the economy, namely the uplifting of people out of poverty by providing meaningful employment and by contributing to treasury through tax payments.
This would allow the government to invest in economic and social infrastructure, thereby accelerating sustainable socio-economic development of the country.
The expo started Wednesday and ends on Saturday at the Westdene Stadium in Keetmanshoop.