No budget for Agribusdev: Misika

06 Jun 2019 16:50pm
By Petrus Muronga
RUNDU, 06 JUN (NAMPA) – The Executive Director (ED) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Percy Misika has indicated that government has no budget to assist the struggling green schemes under the Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev).
Misika said this in an interview with Nampa on Wednesday following reports that the agency mandated to manage and supervise green schemes in Namibia on behalf of MAWF, to ensure that adequate food is produced for local consumption, is struggling to pay its workers.
The ED confirmed the situation faced by Agribusdev, saying the agency’s budget was supposed to come from its own projects, whereby each green scheme has the responsibility to produce and pay its own staff from its profits.
Misika said the salaries catered for by the government are those of the agency’s staff at its head office based in Windhoek.
Furthermore, he said the allocation for Agribusdev and other agencies under the ministry has dropped over the past years, due to limited funds to the ministry from treasury.
The MAWF received N.dollars 2.1 billion for the 2019/2020 financial year.
“We budgeted and requested for more money from treasury, but our allocation was reduced,” Misika said.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Agribusdev requested N.dollars 1 billion over the past five years for all the green schemes but received N.dollars 90 million between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 budget years.
Agribusdev Managing Director, Petrus Uugwanga told this agency on Tuesday that he does not know why Agribusdev, an agency in charge of food production was not budgeted for, “while other government agencies that are not of importance are budgeted for year in and year out”.
He said most of the green schemes have maize in their fields, which needs to be harvested soon, and they will be needing funds to plant again.
He explained that when a farm is in a production circle and experiences a shortfall, there will be a shortfall until the land is put on full production, adding that the situation then forces farms to only put a small portion of land under production due to lack of funds.
“We have done well in our fields and will be harvesting in a month, but for now we will have to brace ourselves,” said Uugwanga.
He also said that despite the challenges, some projects like Etunda, Hardap and Orange River Irrigation Projects have managed to pay their workers.