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 days of communal farmers on one hand and commercial farmers on the other hand are numbered. We need to all pull our weight in closing this gap so that all farmers have equal access to markets and can produce the same quality and quantity,” she noted. The Omaheke Regional Governor stated that as the world population continues to grow, food production cannot keep pace with the high requirements for food that comes with a high world population.
As such, farmers are called upon to fill this gap by not only producing foodstuff, but also through the correct selection of livestock breeds to ensure higher levels of productivity.
“According to FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organisation), world food production would have to double by 2025 to be able to feed the ever increasing human population. In the face of limited possibility for area expansion and even the loss of agricultural land to urbanisation, food production can only be realised through productivity increase,” she said.
As a result of the high competitiveness for the best quality livestock, and the higher level of output expected from farmers to be able to compete, any livestock farmer who is serious about farming can only stay in business if he conforms to these standards, she noted.
The Omaheke Governor praised the initiative to host a combined show, as splitting such activities has made it difficult for companies to come on board as sponsors to the number of shows being staged each year.
The Omaheke/Otjozondjupa Inter-regional show took place at Aminuis from Friday to Sunday.