WINDHOEK: Government will continue to strengthen capacity-building programmes through the provision of farmer practices that will make Namibia’s agricultural sector efficient, productive, competitive and sustainable.
Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa made this pledge on Wednesday during the second day of an international conference on sustainable land and natural resources underway here.
The ministry’s director of engineering services, Sophie Kasheeta said in a speech read on his behalf that agriculture production and food security are being undertaken in a challenging climatic environment in Namibia.
The erratic rainfall pattern, recurring droughts and floods make crop and livestock farming in the country challenging.
“Such an environment of uncertainty calls for constant policy and strategic review, innovation and creativity. The ministry will continue to conduct research to come up with Namibian customised conservation practices and programmes in order to ensure the sustainable utilisation and conservation of our soils,” Mutorwa noted.
Productivity and stability, which determine the sustainability of agriculture, are crucial particularly in a country such as Namibia, which has a growing manufacturing sector.
The minster explained that sustainable agriculture for farmers is an approach and a process in which different management and technological activities as well as socio-economic principles are reconciled with environmental requirements.
Taking the above-mentioned into consideration, Mutorwa called on farmers to integrate the climate, forests, underground water, rangelands, crops, farm infrastructures, as well as livestock into a specific management style to achieve sustainability.
Ground water from boreholes provides most of the water to livestock farming, while water from perennial rivers and dams is commonly used for irrigation purposes and human consumption.
“We need to use the water carefully and manage it in such a way that we will have maximum replenishment of our water resources. Individuals and communities should adopt practices which are responsive to various climate conditions. We must practice and promote drought and flood mitigation techniques and technologies in our country,” he advised.
The four-day International Conference on Sustainable Land and Natural Resource Management kicked off here on Tuesday in light of Namibia’s Country Pilot Partnership for Integrated Sustainable Land Management Programme (CPP-ISLM) coming to an end this year.
The objectives of the conference are to share experiences and lessons of the CPP-ISLM and related programmes; and to discuss and propose ways that could facilitate the incorporation and up-scaling of lessons and practical technologies in land and natural resource management that are recognised nationally and globally.
It also aims to learn from local and international experience on how to mainstream concepts of SLM in planning and funding frameworks in Namibia, including the promotion of cross-sector coordination mechanisms that make that happen.
The conference ends Friday.