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NSA should halt agriculture census

Mon, 27 May 2013 02:56
by Editor
Columns

Recently the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) announced that it will soon be carrying out a national census on agriculture for better policing and strategising in the sector and the economy at large.
However with the declared state of emergency on drought in Namibia will certainly invalidate any findings from the NSA
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has availed N$4.3 million for this census to evaluate the country’s food self sustenance and also view the ability of the country to produce for its own people.
But certainly, with nature upon us, the NSA and FAO should accept that data gathered will not correlate  with the actual production of Namibia. The rough estimate will indeed be rough in that instance.
Bearing in mind that the recent world recession emanated from the world food prices in 2007 causing a global crisis from Mozambique to Greece and resulting in political and economical instability as well as social unrest in both poor and developing countries.
Food security is key to the country’s development but it will be hazardous if our statistics about food production are flawed.
We believe the NSA should not go ahead with this noble idea until a year or two after the drought.
The argument is simple anything collected between this year and 2014 will not reflect Namibia actual crop and animal production.
The success of the national census will not be complete with flawed figures from the drought. Already we know the Namibian population has increased and the drought will definitely give us less figures in both animal and crop production.
There is literally no animals in the Kunene region, 300 000 of our people are in state of emergency,
crops are expected to be 48 percent below average, the outlook for pearl millet is 41 percent lower than last year.
Drought is associated with increases in insect infestation and plant disease. Farmers are not the only ones who suffer from droughts. Retailers who provide goods and services to farmers must deal with reduced business. This later leads to unemployment and loss of tax revenue for the government.
Unless the NSA explains how its figures will remain accurate if census is conducted during the draw, we propose that Dr. John Steytler etal abandon this noble initiative