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Industrialised economy needs multidimensional actions - Schlettwein

by Rodney Pienaar

The finance minister Calle Schlettwein has said Namibia requires a coherent and multidimensional set of actions to achieve shared prosperity for an industrialised economy that the country aspire for in the Vision 2030.

Speaking at the official inauguration of the AgriBanK offices at Gobabis on Friday, Schlettwein said the region has always been considered as the heartbeat of the large livestock production systems of Namibia, carrying the flagship name as a “Cattle Country”.

“We need for example in the agricultural sector to zoom in as to why the prices set at farm gate are low-necessitating the need to correct the wrongs. Namibia has the capacity to feed its nation; and moreover an obligation to do so. And again, I want to cite that this requires deliberately targeted, coherent policies, positively affecting the agricultural and finance sectors,” he stated.

He added that at Independence Namibia produced less than 5% of the country’s fresh produce needs and today some 50% of Namibia’s is home grown as a result of implementing the Market Share Promotion (MSP) policy and programme in 2005.

“No one will do your job for you, even if you have good plans or intentions. You as producer must take the first step in contributing to your social and economic well-being. The government and its support institutions like the AgriBank can enable you to realise your plans, and grow your business,” he said. 

He added that what is possible in the fresh produce sector as demonstrated by the MSP scheme should be possible in the livestock sector.

Schlettwein added that at macro-economic level the government will continue to support producers' efforts to add value to Namibia’s fresh produce or livestock products.

“We don’t need to solely import the tomato paste which is needed in our fishing industry to prepare preserves; the larger amount should actually be sourced locally. Or even more pertinent for the Omaheke region. Our cattle don’t need to leave Namibia as wearers on hoof, but should be grown to maturity for value addition in-country in such a manner that more value is realised,” he said. 

He added that AgriBank serves the agricultural producer, regardless whether a farmer is running a production system on communal farmland, on a resettlement farm or on commercial farmland.