MWAF launches regional agriculture enhancement policy

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MWAF) on Monday launched a N.dollars 2.5 million (USD 172 000) Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) aimed at enhancing agricultural information and improve market excess.

RAP is a support towards the operationalisation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Agricultural Policy known as STOSAR for Namibia within the framework of SADC common Agenda on sustainable and equitable economic growth and development.

In a speech read on his behalf during the launch here, MWAF executive director Percy Misika said under the project crop pests and trans-boundary animal diseases affecting trade and livelihoods within the region will be tackled.

He noted the pests include tuta absoluta; fall armyworm; fruit fly; maize lethal necrotic diseases and banana fusarium wilt, while the transboundary diseases identified are the foot and Mouth; peste des petits ruminants and highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Agriculture remain central poverty reduction, growth, food and nutrition security in the country, and the ministry is mandated to work closely with all farming households to ensure food and nutrition security both national and household level, he said.

Misika further noted that RAP will focus amongst others on enhancing sustainable agricultural production, productivity and competitiveness, improve regional and international trade and access to markets for agricultural products.

It will further improve private and public sector engagement and investment in agricultural value chains and reduce social economic vulnerability of the region's population in the context of food and nutrition security and climate change.

On the same note, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Country representative Farayi Zimudzi said FAO supported the formulation processes of the project and assisted SADC in sourcing further resources to opetionalise the initiative.

He noted that the project funded by the European Union will run for 33 months.

The measures taken at the regional and national levels will contribute towards improved rural livelihoods, food security and increased opportunities in trade, he noted.

Source: Namibia Press Agency