Agriculture could contribute immensely to local economy: Nghikembua

11 Oct 2018 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 11 OCT (NAMPA) – Namibia’s agricultural sector holds great potential to make a contribution towards economic growth, but has to overcome several challenges including climate change and a lack of access to markets, Agribank Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua has said.
Nghikembua was speaking at the opening of the 72nd Congress of the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU) here on Thursday.
“Agriculture holds great potential for economic growth, employment creation, food security and poverty eradication,” he said.
He added that the sector has to overcome challenges including a skills deficit, a relatively high food import bill, as well as the declining contribution of agriculture to the national gross domestic product (GDP), amongst others.
“The lowest continuous contribution [to GDP] was in the period between 2013 and 2016, due to severe drought in some of those years.”
Nghikembua noted that the country has a relatively high import bill for imports of white maize and other horticultural products, despite good progress being made in the local horticulture space.
He said more should be done to close the import gap as there was access to sufficient fertile land and water resources to increase self-reliance.
Nghikembua further suggested that the NAU assist farmers in creating climate resilience, up-skilling the industry through practical training and mentorship services and creating linkages with other farmers’ unions.