THE ministry of agriculture recently launched a N$2,5 million regional agricultural policy (RAP) aimed at enhancing agricultural information and improve market excess.
RAP supports the operationalisation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional agricultural policy known as STOSAR for Namibia within SADC's sustainable and equitable economic growth and development agenda.
In a speech read on his behalf at the launch, agriculture executive director Percy Misika said under the project, crop pests and trans-boundary animal diseases affecting trade and livelihoods within the region will be tackled.
He noted the pests include tuta absoluta; fall armyworm; fruit fly; maize lethal necrotic diseases and banana fusarium wilt, while the trans-boundary diseases identified are foot-and-mouth; peste des petits ruminants and the highly pathogenic avian influenza.
"Agriculture remains central to poverty reduction, growth, food and nutrition security in the country, and the ministry is mandated to work closely with all farming households to ensure food and nutrition security at national and household level," he said.
Misika further noted that RAP will focus on, among others, enhancing sustainable agricultural production, productivity and competitiveness, improve regional and international trade and access to markets for agricultural products.
It will further improve private and public sector engagement and investment in agricultural value chains and reduce social economic vulnerability of the region's population in the context of food and nutrition security and climate change.
On the same note, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) country representative, Farayi Zimudzi, said FAO supported the formulation processes of the project and assisted SADC in sourcing further resources to operationalise the initiative. He noted that the project, funded by the European Union, will run for 33 months.
"The measures taken at the regional and national levels will contribute towards improved rural livelihoods, food security and increased opportunities in trade," he noted.