Assessing the Namibian government's policy on improving national food production: A case study of the agronomic sector.
Ekondo, Fanuel Eita
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The third National Development Plan, extending from 2007-12, seeks amongst other things to boost agricultural production at household and national levels in order to increase food security and create opportunities for employment. Government has indicated that Green Scheme initiative is hampered by low incentives for engaging in agricultural product ion and processing, and by unfavourable responses to manufacturing by food processors, manifested by the apparent low level of investment in agriculture and the food-processing sector. We conducted a questionnaire-based study focusing on the operators of eight major irrigation projects in northern and southern Namibia to determine the challenges faced in the economic, political and legal environment , aimed at understanding the underlying constraints to large-scale food production under irrigation. The main objective of the study is to understand the effective mechanisms necessary to boost agricultural production through sound investments into the sector. Data was collected through semi - structured interview quest ions and answers recorded on the questionnaire sheet. Respondents indicated that no incentives for investing in agriculture and food product ion were provided. Private operators of agroirrigation projects bemoaned the unreasonable limited lease period (5-10 years) , making it difficult to recoup any large-scale investment. Technical problems included lack of expertise to operate and service recently acquired modern technologies. Respondents suggested the introduction of longer leases, enabl ing investors to recoup their costs and realize profits from their investments. Project operators called for the training of competent personnel to provide technical services and know-how on the projects as well as the acquisition of new technologies to replace the obsolete equipment current ly in use.
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