EENHANA: The key to increasing income and reducing poverty essentially and practically means the enhancement of agricultural production at household level in a sustainable manner.
Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa said this at Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region on Friday when he addressed an annual meeting of members of the National Mahangu Consultative Forum (NMCF).
The NMCF meeting, which was aimed at planning and sharing experiences and challenges faced by mahangu producers in the country, preceded the Oshipe Festival, which is to award farmers who have produced bumper harvests of mahangu this year.
The Oshipe Festival is taking place on Saturday at Eenhana, where President Hifikepunye Pohamba is expected to officiate.
Mutorwa said that in the crops’ sub-sector, his ministry is pursuing the attainment of set objectives and targets through programmes such as the Green Scheme and Dryland Crop Production (DLCP).
Mutorwa explained that the Green Scheme’s main aim or objective is to increase food production in Namibia by utilising irrigation as a method to grow and produce the needed food.
The DLCP or Rain Fed Crop Production Programme (RFCPP), on the other hand, is much older and well established in Namibia, particularly in the crop-producing north-eastern and north-central regions of the country.
“Many of us were fed by and through the DLCPP, even though we tend to unconvincingly and artificially conceal and ignore it when we consume our food from big expensive tables, kitchens and dining rooms,” Mutorwa noted.
During the event, chairperson of the NMCF and Deputy Chairperson of the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), Sirkka Iileka encouraged mahangu producers to produce more mahangu for both consumption at household level and the market, now that the government is facilitating the marketing of mahangu products.
Iileka stated that 30 000 tonnes of mahangu for the market is targeted in Namibia per annum, but producers manage only 2 000 tonnes of mahangu for the market per annum.
Members of the NMCF and other stakeholders are drawn from Namibia’s mahangu-producing regions of Caprivi, Kavango, Ohangwena, Kunene North, Omusati, Oshana, a part of Oshikoto, and Otjozondjupa.