AMINUIS: The Governor of the Omaheke Region has called on Government to do its best to close the gap between commercial and communal farmers, in order to allow for a more harmonised farming sector.
Speaking while delivering the keynote address at the Omaheke/Otjozondjupa Inter-regional show here on Saturday, Laura McLeod-Katjirua said the current gap between the two sectors has placed communal farmers at a disadvantage in terms of access to the agricultural market, as well as input and finance.
The governor said it is high time a unified agricultural sector is created in the country in order for experiences, new technologies, and innovation to be shared, adding that such unification would also harmonise ideas in livestock rearing.
McLeod-Katjirua said as the largest employer in the country, the agriculture sector plays a prominent role in the economy and contributes heavily to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but such a role can only be maximised if the industry is unified.
The Omaheke/Otjozondjupa Inter-regional show took place at Aminuis from Friday to Sunday.
Communal farmers have been urged to take an active role in efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS, as they are often vulnerable due to limited information and training services on the pandemic at their disposal.
Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) Secretary Elia Kandjii told farmers at the Omaheke/Otjozondjupa Inter-regional show here on Saturday that the days when farmers took a backseat with regards to the fight against HIV/AIDS, are over.
He said today’s farmer is called upon to take an active lead in the process as the impact of the pandemic on the farming sector is clearly evidenced through the loss of productive members of the fraternity.
Kandjii urged farmers to acquaint themselves with the right information on the spread and prevention of the pandemic to avoid being left behind.
He went on to say that HIV/AIDS demoralises and disables effective agricultural activity from reaching efficient production levels, while placing household, community and the national economies and existence under threat.
Due to stern cultural belief and practices, the level of stigma regarding HIV/AIDS is seemingly high in rural areas, which may hinder the health-seeking behaviour of the affected and infected rural inhabitants, the NNFU secretary indicated.