Agribank urges farmers to diversify farming activities

28 Jun 2019 09:10am
ONGWEDIVA, 28 JUN (NAMPA) – The drought continues to be a recurring climatic event in Namibia with more people being increasingly affected in various forms with each drought episode.
Agribank Board Chairperson Michael Iyambo said this whilst speaking at the bank’s stakeholders’ dinner held at Ongwediva in the Oshana Region on Wednesday.
He explained that with the frequent recurrence, there is no opportunity for sufficient recovery of rangelands whilst rain-fed crops also constantly fail.
“This puts pressure on food security at household and national levels and increases the vulnerability of especially rural households,” he said.
He therefore urged farmers to diversify farming activities and adopt resilient farming methods to rid out the weather cycles caused by climate change in general and drought in particular.
“Gone are the days when we had to rely on livestock farming as the main income stream,” warned Iyambo.
The chairperson however singled out the charcoal production, describing it an emerging but strong sub-sector which will be a significant contributor to the gross domestic product and personal incomes in the next decade.
It is important that communal farmers are legally allowed to sustainably harvest encroacher bush for charcoal production to ensure that they can continue to carry on with activities that require no rain to generate income, most especially during the drought period, he suggested.
In a speech delivered on his behalf, Governor of Oshana Region, Elia Irimari advised that farmers should undergo a paradigm shift from the traditional ways of farming to new innovative ways that are adaptive and resilient to climate change.
“It is time that we start a conversation on how to implement measures that will make us more resilient to this rapid climate change that not only threatens the livelihoods of our people, but also the economic gains that the country has made since independence,” Irimari cited.
The bank hosted the stakeholders’ dinner to appraise itself with the circumstances on the ground in the northern regions of Namibia.