Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

5 April 2013

Namibia: 'Growth At Home' Adopted

In its efforts to boost value addition to the country's natural resources, the government has adopted the "Growth at Home" approach that will develop value chains in different sectors of the economy, mainly agriculture, mining and fishing.

Addressing parliament during the 2013 State of the Nation address, president Hifikepunye Pohamba indicated that government aims to reduce the export of livestock on the hoof so that finished meat, leather and related products would be produced locally.

The President outlined the recently inaugurated National Fresh Produce hubs in Rundu and Ongwediva which will act as boosters of local food production. He said the facilities will close the long-standing gap in the local food production value chain by providing a market for local food growers to sell their produce.

"I therefore urge all local food growers to produce more food in order to feed the nation, create more jobs and improve the profitability of their farming operations. We want to see more local produce on the shelves of local supermarkets and on more local lunch and dinner tables," the President highlighted.

In the same breath, President Pohamba also addressed the current drought and flood situation in the country assuring the nation that the government is closely monitoring the situation with assessments having been carried out to determine the extent of crop failure and the impact the drought has on grazing.

" I have already directed the relevant institutions to be prepared to assist the families and communities affected by these natural disasters and avert suffering and loss of lives," he said, adding that reports of starvation and malnutrition must be investigated and appropriate steps should be taken immediately in coordination with the Office of the Prime Minister.

Addressing the issue of land, the president noted that in the current financial year, the government will introduce and execute measures aimed at both acceleration of land reform and distribution as well as assisting resettled farmers. He said funds have been allocated to repair damaged and ageing water installations and other infrastructure on several resettlement farms. In addition, funds have also been made available to train resettled and emerging farmers to become more productive.

"Furthermore, as a way of addressing land scarcity, government has decided to expand some communal areas by purchasing adjacent farmland and incorporating such land into identified communal areas," he said.

The initiative has already benefited the communities of Hoachanas, Vaalgras, Otjimbingwe and Okombahe. The president also requested those who own excess land to sell part of it to the government for distribution to landless citizens.

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