Agribusdev to train 40 farmers

By Rosalia David
November - December 2015
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About 40 Namibians will be given an opportunity to sharpen their farming skills at the Mashare farm in the Okavango West region from January next year, thanks to an investment by AgriBusdev.

The company’s Business Analyst, Evaristus Titus emphasized that this initiative is being taken to stimulate employmentcreation. The beneficiaries are, however, expected to reimburse the company upon the completion of their courses.

“We are currently experiencing drought in the country, and increasing the land for cultivation would be a smart move so that we are able to produce more food to feed the nation. This will create employment for communities, and we participate in the Green Scheme as small and mediumscale farmers,” he stated.

The lucky recipients aged between 18 to 35 years would have to apply formally, and a screening process will be engaged to select those who qualify for the opportunity. “The most pressing challenge is the unavailability of water.

Finding the source of water to use is very expensive, and therefore requires technology, which is expensive,” he noted, adding that the initiative is here to serve by providing skills and the opportunity to earn an income. The company will eventually select the successful few, who will then be given an opportunity to engage in farming projects through the Government-funded Green Scheme projects.

AgriBusDev and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) is also working on expanding the Green Scheme projects by increasing the land mass available to produce more products, which will also create employment because of the drought in the country.

The Green Scheme is an initiative conceptualised and introduced by the Government of the Republic of Namibia with the aim to encourage the development of irrigationbased agronomic production here in order to increase food production, thereby contributing to the national agenda for food self-sufficiency and food security as well as job-creation.

The Green Scheme policy as revised and adopted in December 2008 provides guidance and a legal framework for the implementation of Green Scheme initiatives.

The MAWF - within its mandate of promoting and managing the sustainable utilization and development of agricultural, water and forestry resources - has been charged with the responsibility of implementing the Green Scheme policy.

The Green Scheme projects are owned by Government through the MWAF. These projects are operated by the various service providers on either a lease or profit-sharing agreement. Besides the projects AgriBusDev is working on, Titus revealed that there are few challenges which the institution faces.

He stated that although every company faces obstacles, there are always successes at the same time. Titus said the company, which was created in 2012, currently employs 2399 people on a temporary basis, of whom 1622 are females and 777 males.

“Although we are still new, we managed to create awareness about the company, and the strategic plan has been completed, which we are using as our roadmap to move forward as our staff complement is in order.

We managed to stay on a secure side, producing most of our potatoes locally, and not everything is imported with the Green Scheme projects”, he added.

Titus further said most products produced in Namibia are not processed, but sold as primary products.

“People should have that pride to buy a local product. Many people were asking more about Namibian products at the Showgrounds recently, which shows that there is that vibe. We need to start from home before other people can get a broader picture for the international market as well”, he enthused.

The other objectives are the mobilization of private and public capital for investment in agriculture, the promotion of food security at household and national levels, the diversification of agricultural production and products for domestic consumption and export, as well as the promotion of research and technology adaptation to increase productivity.

“Although the company is still new, we have plans of expanding in the next five years and offering jobs to almost every individual in Namibia.

We want to improve the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, and our grapes are actually exported, which shows an improvement in Namibia”, he continued.

Titus also encouraged every individual to support Namibian products, and to make sure to buy at least one of the country’s products per shopping session. AgriBusDev has a team of agricultural and agribusiness professionals whose career experiences span over 50 years in the public, non-governmental, corporate and academic environments in key markets in Southern Africa.

The team’s hands-on and vast professional experience in the food and agriculture and agri-business service sectors affords a depth of understanding of the complex issues and challenges facing the small-scale and large-scale agricultural producers, agri-businesses and organizations servicing the agricultural sectors.

They are thus well-disposed to work with their clients to provide solutions which work in addressing people’s needs in the short-term without trial and error.