Namibia urged to invest in women to accelerate agricultural growth


Namibia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform Executive Director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata on Thursday said that it is crucial for the country to invest in women to accelerate agricultural growth while addressing food security and food self-reliance.

Speaking at the Women and Agriculture Summit in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, Nghituwamata said that frequent outbreaks of invasive species of plant pests and diseases are negatively impacting national food security, food self-sufficiency, and nutrition.

She said severe outbreaks of fall armyworm and African migratory locusts and the occurrence of livestock diseases such as foot and mouth disease have had a huge devastating impact on food and nutrition security as well as a devastating effect on the economy of the Northern Communal Areas.

“Women in Namibia are central to all aspects of agriculture and off-farm activities in their communities. They contribute significantly to household investment, community resilience, national economic growth, and the vibrancy of regional economies. However, their efforts are limited by lack of access to productive resources, technologies, services, and market access,” she said.

Food security is currently a fundamental issue in Namibia as the country faces serious challenges in meeting the food needs of the growing population, Nghituwamata said, noting that the challenge of food insecurity particularly in the rural areas especially given the country’s increasing rural-urban migration has a negative impact on agricultural production.

“Today’s discussion on women in agriculture explicitly recognizes the centrality of women to the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihood and overall wellbeing in the context in which often their role and significance are overlooked and undervalued. The role of women in agriculture is very important to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform’s mandate of reducing poverty and ensuring food security at national and household levels,” she said.

It is expected that 60 percent of Namibia’s population will live in urban areas by the year 2030.

Even though Namibia has initiated projects in agriculture that aim to empower women to help increase their income, develop a stable rural livelihood and contribute to food and nutrition security, Nghituwamata says more needs to be done.

“These projects empower women to move beyond livelihoods to wealth creation and business leadership in agriculture. Their aim is to provide appropriate technologies for women to increase food production and reduce post-harvest losses which will, in turn, improve income,” she said. Enditem

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