“The contribution of small-scale farmers to global food production and food security cannot be over emphasised”. This was highlighted by Anna Shiweda, the deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) during the official opening ceremony of the Ohangwena international Agri-food Confex.
Occurring at Eenhana Convention Centre under the theme: “Igniting the Ohangwena Food Basket”, the event is expected to be on-going until the 13th August. The event is the first ever in the region and seeks to empower small scale farmers through the sharing of information, knowledge and experiences.
During the opening ceremony; Ohangwena regional governor, Walde Ndevashiya highlighted that the Ohangwena region has a lot of potential in terms of food production and it can become one of Namibia`s food basket.
“We have abundant fertile land for crop production and other agricultural farming activities”, he stated.
The Ohangwena region is known to present a number of opportunities in terms of agricultural production and agribusiness development. One of the opportunity is the underground water resources that are in the process of being developed under Phase II of the Ohangwena Aquifer. Once fully developed, they are expected to have massive potential on transforming the agricultural context of the region.
At the opening ceremony, the deputy minister Anna Shiweda have also revealed that 80 percent of food in the world when it comes to value terms is produced by small scale family farms and women are key to the success of those farms. However, despite their role and contribution to farming, small scale farmers’ in particular female producers encounter a lot of challenges ranging from; limited access to technology, inputs & credit and access to land.
In her closing remarks, Anna Shiweda have encouraged the regional councilors to continue organising events of such nature. “Events of this nature will not only stimulate agricultural production, but will also trigger value addition ventures and facilitate the marketing of agricultural products that are produced and processed in Ohangwena region and beyond”.