By: Justicia Shipena
PDM member of parliament Vipuakuje Muharukua says that input costs have escalated over the years and that farmers cannot keep up any longer.
Muharukua said this in the National Assembly on Tuesday while tabling a motion on the 40 per cent farming subsidy.
He called on a 40 per cent subsidy for communal crop farming to villages along the Omahenene water canal both in the Omusati and parts of Oshana regions.
He said he spoke to about 14 present and prospective farmers in the Omusati region during his travels and that 90 per cent are engaged in irrigation activities and have done so without assistance from the government.
“Prospective farmers have commenced setting up tanks, erecting gardens, with one farmer starting to acquire these much-needed facilities six years ago and still nowhere near commencement,” said Muharukua.
“My visit reveals plots encroached by weeds as the farmers struggle to plant the seed, care for the outcome and sell the produce,” he paints the region’s current situation in the August House.
“I deliberately made a rough count of the household with dry
fields from Oshakati to Epalela. They were no less than 2 000. These existing structures horticultural are an incentive to kick-start a culture of modern horticultural production.”
He also touches on the Etunda irrigation scheme, stating that the farm is about to hit rock bottom.
Etunda is run under, Agribusdev, a state company which manages government green schemes.
“The dry desert-like conditions prevailing along the canal in question make it evident that people have no one to look to realise their aspirations. Farmers have no equipment. The demand ranges from tractors, planters, and water pumping machines to hoes,” he said.
Muharukua said even those that are producing are exposed to their produce rotting, wilting, and damaging owing to a lack, but even more, alarming lack of formal marketing channels.
Last month, the ministry of agriculture said financial subsidies availed to farmers in the Omusati region improved the farmers’ production capacity and quantity of products.
In this vein, he pleaded that the government aid farmers in the region and that a 40 per cent subsidy toward horticultural production in the Omusati is the correct place to start.
“That is to say that any farmer who intends to produce irrigated crops and who is so accredited and capacitated should be entitled to have his venture subsidised at a minimum of 40 per cent on all cost,” he added.
He stamped that farming could not succeed without equipment which Muharukua says is costly to purchase and maintain.
“Without governments hand, we are reduced to receiving aid and borrowing for food.”
Muharukua concluded that achieving equal access to food in Namibia should be a passion.