30 April 2019 | Wirtschaft

Billions to boost agriculture

In the current fiscal year, N$96 million is earmarked for the development of green schemes, while nearly N$131.6 million was budgeted to improve livestock production.

Jo-Maré Duddy – Nearly N$4.2 billion has been budgeted for the development of agriculture, water and forestry in the three fiscal years ending 31 March 2021/22, of which more than N$1.5 billion is available for this year.

Agriculture has been plagued by persistent drought, plunging the sector into a recession last year, with growth of -2.2%.

At current prices, the sector contributed more than N$8.8 billion or nearly 4.5% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) of around N$192.1 billion in 2018, according to the latest data by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

Together with fishing and forestry, agriculture is by far the biggest job provider in Namibia. In 2018, the sector employed 167 242 or about 23% of the country’s entire workforce, according to the NSA.

The bulk of government’s current capital budget – about N$469.2 million or 31% of the total budget - is earmarked for the development, maintenance and rehabilitation of water infrastructure. Over the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF), some N$1.7 billion is allocated to this.

Nearly N$191.4 million will be spent to complete the Neckertal Dam in 2019/20. Next year, about N$113.6 million will be pumped into the refurbishment of the Hardap Dam.

Nearly N$5.7 million is available for the construction of traditional wells and pans for livestock drinking, followed by N$20 million in each of the subsequent fiscal years.

A total of N$242 million in 2019/20 and N$460 million next year will be invested in the construction of water supply security infrastructure, which includes the construction of pipelines.

Green schemes

A total of N$346 million will be invested in green schemes over the MTEF. Government intends developing 27 000 hectares for green schemes over the coming 15 years. The total cost of government’s development of green schemes is N$3.5 billion, of which more than N$2 billion will be spent after 2021/22.

In the current fiscal year, N$96 million is earmarked for the development of green schemes. This includes the construction of grain storage silos, cold storage facilities and a weighbridge at Uvhungu-Vhungu in the Kavango East region. Farm buildings will be erected at Mashare in the region, while construction activities will continue at Katima Mulilo and Liselo in the Zambezi region.

Nearly N$587.9 million is budgeted for the Namibia Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project (NAMSIP) this year – N$98.9 million financed from the State Revenue Fund, complemented by a loan of nearly N$489 million.

The project aims to enhance productivity, reduce imports of staple grains, create jobs, better household incomes and improve the lives of rural people.

Other crop and horticulture production projects which will benefit from the budget this year include: the Kalimbeza Rice Project (N$10 million), integrated grain storage facilities (N$15 million), establishment of agro processing facilities (N$10.8 million), production incentives for sunflower oil seed and cowpeas (N$5 million), and the horticulture support programme (N$10.2 million).

Livestock

Nearly N$131.6 million was budgeted in 2019/20 to improve livestock production.

The bulk of the budget – N$35 million – is earmarked for the construction of veterinary clinics, offices and accommodation. About N$24 million is available to improve animal health and marketing services in the North Central Areas (NAC), while some N$19.2 million will be spent on the development of a beef value chain in the NAC.

N$5 million will go towards the development of livestock breeding and marketing infrastructure in the communal areas, while about N$6.3 million is geared for small stock distribution and development in communal areas.

A total of N$17 million will be spent to construct the border fence between Namibia and Angola and to upgrade veterinary fences.

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