Economic Association hosts annual conference
Maximising Agricultural Potential for Namibia’s Development
08 October 2020 | Agriculture
This theme was chosen since agriculture plays a critical role in economic development. According to a media statement by EAN, this sector serves as an important impetus for economic growth and has played a central role in the economic transformation and prosperity of most advanced countries. Moreover, it has been proven that growth in agriculture benefits impoverished sections of the population, contributing significantly to the reduction of poverty and inequality.
In Namibia, the sector’s contribution to GDP has been decreasing over time (from 6.2% in 2005 to 3.9% in 2019)1, it is one of the biggest employers, contributing to approximately more than 167 000 jobs (23%) of the total employment in the country in 2018. Furthermore, agricultural exports contribute significantly to exports earnings. In 2019, food and live animals exports contributed N$3.4 billion to foreign earnings, of which N$1.9 billion came from meat exports.
In addition, agriculture is the lifeblood of rural Namibia, home to 50.1% of the total population. Also, 70% of all Namibians are dependent on farming for at least part of their food supplies. Furthermore, rural Namibia serves as a social safety net for those who lose employment in urban centres or simply don’t make it in cities. Moreover, anecdotal evidence shows that farming areas serve as places of retirement for a substantial number of Namibia’s people.
Thus, the importance of agriculture to Namibia’s economy and society can therefore not be overemphasized.
However, the agricultural sector is beset with challenges, owing mainly to the arid and semi-arid climate and reoccurring droughts in Namibia. Also, the sector is characterised by low skills, low pay, and low levels of mechanisation, resulting in low levels of productivity and output.
It is against the above background that the EAN is hosting this conference, to create a platform for the exchange of ideas on how to maximize the potential of the agricultural sector, and how to transform it into a hub for decent employment creation, economic growth, and exports earnings.
The conference brings together policymakers, scholars, donor agencies, financiers, civil society actors, and the general public to devise strategies and practical solutions aimed at tackling the current challenges faced by the sector through, among other things, the deployment of technology and modern agricultural methods, in the context of smart agriculture, as part of the overall plans for greening Namibia.
Other topics include the role of modern agriculture in economic development; the potential of greening Namibia, water woes, emerging agribusinesses and developing aquaculture, aquaponics and hydroponics.
EAN has partnered with the Hans Seidel Foundation, Agribank, Namwater, GiZ and Namibia Media Holdings to draw together a diverse number of experts to share their views on the above topics. The conference will be a virtual meeting to be streamed live on the EAN Facebook page and on Namibia Media Holdings social media pages.