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Farmers asked not to produce for status: Mutorwa

RUNDU, 13 SEP (NAMPA) –Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa has asked farmers in communal areas not to produce for status but to contribute to food security in the country.
Mutorwa made the call during the just ended Food Namibia Trade and Conference held in Rundu.
The conference brought together stakeholders in Government and the agro-food industry to discuss key issues related to agriculture and sustainable food production in Namibia last weekend.
He said most of the food being consumed in schools and hospitals should not come from other places but should be provided by local farmers as this would be a way of empowering them.
“What Government intends to do, which is also stipulated in the Procurement Act [Act 15 of 2015], is that a certain percentage of the food being supplied to these institutions should come from what the farmers in those areas are producing,” said Mutorwa.
He said the problem was that people were still stuck in the old fashion way of doing things arguing that food produced by local farmers is not enough because communal farmers only produce for status.
“It is old fashioned,” Mutorwa stressed.
He said what local farmers lacked were opportunities in terms of market access, so that they can produce the required quantities of quality food.
Mutorwa said the ministry had experts that could advise and assist farmers on what kind of quality crops to produce and this was also applicable to the livestock sector.
He further urged government agencies such as the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) to create markets for farmers to sell their produce.
In terms of infrastructure in the livestock sector, the minister touched on the construction of the Rundu abattoir that will be used for slaughtering and processing meat, while the Zambezi Region abattoir will also be upgraded.
He said Government had already allocated funds for the building and upgrading of the abattoirs.
In addition, he said another meat processing plant is due for construction at Bukalo Village in the Zambezi Region.
Mutorwa explained that the building of these abattoirs is to serve farmers residing north of the Redline, which is veterinary cordon fence separating northern Namibia from the central and southern parts of the country.

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