The National Agricultural Policy of Namibia is a multi-sectoral policy with the following objectives: achieve growth rates and stability in farm income, agricultural productivity and production levels that are higher than the population growth rate; ensure food security and improve nutritional status; create and sustain viable livelihood and employment opportunities in rural areas; improve the profitability of agriculture and increase investment in agriculture; contribute towards the improvement of the balance of payments; expand vertical integration and domestic value-added for agricultural products; improve the living standards of farmers and their families as well as farm workers; promote the sustainable utilization of the nation’s land and other natural resources’; and contribute to balanced rural and regional development based on comparative advantage.The policy addresses food security and improvement of nutrition. Efforts will aim at assuring year round access to nutritionally adequate and safe food for all. To address food insecurity and malnutrition effectively, the Government’s extension service will aim at assisting the largest number of farmers possible. The main focus will be on small and medium scale farmers in the communal areas. The Government will encourage the production of staple foods with the aim of achieving household self-sufficiency and food security, and regional self –sufficiency in areas with adequate potential. The Government acknowledges the constraints and discriminatory practices facing many female-headed households and the youth in rural areas throughout Namibia and, therefore, their participation in agricultural organizations and related institutions needs to be ensured. Women will be assisted in overcoming constraints to their participation in development efforts related to their lack of knowledge, limited access to land, lack of security of tenure, discriminatory laws, shortages of labor and poor access to services and finance.Regarding sustainable development the Government will, where possible, devolve decision-making power and resource management initiatives to the lowest possible local level. People’s empowerment will be promoted to enable rural people to have control over the identification of problems, opportunities and solutions, and the planning, implementation and monitoring of sustainable development initiatives. The Government will support the development of local institutions comprised of, and accountable to, the resource users, to enable them to gain control over the management of their resources.The Government will formulate effective rural development policies, strategies, and institutional arrangements, through a participatory planning process at the national and regional level. Close collaboration with NGOs and the private sector will be pursued to address the growing problems of rural poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, and unequal income distribution. The key lies in raising the productivity of the poor through investment in their human resource development, and in creating employment opportunities which make efficient use of labor, their most abundant asset. The Government will, therefore, promote policies and strategies which increase the demand for labor through a strategy of broad-based labor- intensive growth in agriculture, agro-industries and related sectors.The Government will promote favorable bilateral, regional and other international trade agreements and comply with global trade regulations under the WTO and regional regulations under the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU). The implementation of the WTO rules and SACU agreements presents challenges and opportunities for the agricultural sector. This will be achieved by the replacement of quantitative restrictions to trade with border tariffs. The marketing needs of small-scale farmers will receive special attention. Their success in improving production for the market depends on, among other things, the provision of rural infrastructure and marketing support services. The Government will assist local communities and private enterprises by creating a favorable policy and investment environment in which small-scale farmers have access to affordable marketing services and facilities.Concerning the effort to increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters the Government of Namibia will address vulnerability to drought and natural disasters through long-term drought preparedness planning. This includes the institution of emergency management systems with special emphasis on appropriate relief and rehabilitation mechanisms. The government will provide adequate budgetary allocation to deal with the occurrence of drought and other calamities, to strengthen joint Government and private sector drought and disaster management mechanisms, to rationalize the use of relief and rehabilitation resources, particularly subsidies and donor funds, and to mobilize people’s participation and self-help initiatives in drought and disaster management systems. The government will require concerned institutions to incorporate drought risk management into agricultural production planning and financing systems.To achieve the objectives of the agricultural policy, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development will formulate, implement, coordinate and monitor strategies and programmes directed towards achieving policy objectives.
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