WINDHOEK, 21 APR – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry on Friday launched the Namibia Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project (Namsip).
Namsip focuses on agricultural mechanisation, livestock and seed improvement in efforts to stimulate high quality production and market access for crops and livestock products from small and medium-scale agricultural producers, as well as agro-processors.
Launching the project in Windhoek, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Anna Shiweda said one of the key challenges affecting food security in Namibia is the inability of rural producers to access agricultural input such as seeds, farm machinery and equipment required for effective land preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting on time.
“Namsip will enable farmers to access quality certified seeds and help them to complete farming in a timely manner which will increase productivity and reduce the cost of cultivation, especially in crop producing regions where the rain fed farming system is practiced,” said Shiweda.
She added that although the project has been launched, there is still a lot that needs to be done by the project committees in terms of how farmers can access the funds and services provided.
She further noted that beneficiaries will have to contribute over N.dollars 56 627 000, which represents four per cent of the project cost, to ensure its sustainability.
This will be in the form of a revolving account for farmers.
“Once a farmer becomes a beneficiary, it is expected of that farmer to give back a certain percentage of the total value of what was granted to them to ensure that others benefit as well,” the deputy minister said.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of N.dollars 1 billion, which represents 70.5 per cent of the project’s total cost, to Namibia for Namsip.
The government will contribute over N.dollars 3 million.