Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Agriculture in Namibia

Agriculture in Namibia contributes around 5% of the national Gross Domestic Product though 25% to 40% of Namibians depend on subsistence agriculture and herding. Primary products included livestock and meat products, crop farming and forestry. Only 2% of Namibia's land receives sufficient rainfall to grow crops. As all inland rivers are ephemeral, irrigation is only possible in the valleys of the border rivers Oranje, Kunene, and Okavango.
As of 2010, the Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Forestry is John Mutorwa. The Ministry operates a number of parastatals, including NamWater.
Although Namibian agriculture--excluding fishing--contributed between 5% and 6% of Namibia's GDP from 2004-2009, a large percentage of the Namibian population depends on agricultural activities for livelihood, mostly in the subsistence sector. Animal products, live animals, and crop exports constituted roughly 10.7% of total Namibian exports. The government encourages local sourcing of agriculture products. Retailers of fruits, vegetables, and other crop products must purchase 27.5% of their stock from local farmers.
In the largely white-dominated commercial sector, agriculture consists primarily of livestock ranching. There are about 4,000 commercial farms in Namibia, 3,000 of which are owned by whites. Cattle raising is predominant in the central and northern regions, while karakul sheep and goat farming are concentrated in the more arid southern regions. Subsistence farming is mainly confined to the "communal lands" of the country's populous north, where roaming cattle herds are prevalent and the main crops are millet, sorghum, corn, and peanuts. Table grapes, grown mostly along the Orange River in the country's arid south, are becoming an increasingly important commercial crop and a significant employer of seasonal labor.
The government's land reform policy is shaped by two key pieces of legislation: the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act 6 of 1995 and the Communal Land Reform Act 5 of 2002. The government remains committed to a "willing seller, willing buyer" approach to land reform and to providing just compensation as directed by the Namibian constitution. As the government addresses the vital land and range management questions, water use issues and availability are considered.