The recently held Agri4YOUth conference garnered youth from across the country to network under one roof.
Under the theme 'Inspiring the future of agriculture in Namibia,' GIZ project manager Tino Hess said the future of agriculture is in the hands of young Namibians.
"Considering the remarkable talent and creativity, the unconditional passion and strong visions you hold, I can confidently say that the future will be a bright one," said Hess who spoke at the Agri4YOUth conference held at the Safari Hotel in the capital last week.
Hess said he has heard people saying the youth are not interested in agriculture as they see agriculture as labour-intensive.
He mentioned that some also say there is no catch. "There is little money to be made, no chances of a rewarding career and youth are keen on money to buy all these fancy materials such as posh cars, a shiny watch, latest mobile phones and the largest TV," he said.
But looking at the faces present at the conference, Hess said he was happy to prove the negative voices wrong. In just 48 hours of announcing the conference, they had more than 400 young people from all over the country expressing their interest to attend.
He was impressed by the innovative ideas, untiring perseverance, inspiring stories and great vision. "Out of these conversations and impressions, the idea was born to organise the Agri4YOUth conference, the first of its kind; the mission is to create a platform for agriculturally-interested enthusiastic youth to come together, exchange experiences, ideas and visions, to inspire and to be inspired as well as to listen and engage with sector stakeholders," emphasised Hess.
He said that agriculture in Namibia and the world at large is confronted by several challenges. "The present drastically altered environment requires adaptation, but it also requires critically reflecting on and re-inventing the way we are doing things," he added.
At the same event, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Anna Shiweda said agriculture is one of the most important pillars of the economies of many countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, including Namibia.
"In Namibia, specifically, seventy percent of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood in terms of employment, income and food security, particularly in rural areas," she said.
Shiweda said that the national demographic statistics have it that 66% of the 2.4 million Namibian population consists of young people. "This implies that the majority of young people depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood," she stated. Other notable speakers at the conference were Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Erastus Uutoni.