- Namibia's agricultural sector is to become a more important part of the national economy, according to government strategies. The arid country is to become greener as irrigation projects and crop developments are to profit Namibia's historically disadvantaged peoples. The national Green Scheme today got major international funding.
The African Development Bank (ADB) today announced it was to assist financing Namibia's government initiated Tandjieskoppe Green Scheme. The Bank's board had approved a loan application by Windhoek authorities totalling Rand 209.76 million, providing what it called "a vital lifeline" for the country's agricultural sector.
The Tandjieskoppe Green Scheme constitutes part of the Namibian government's sector goal, which is to "increase the contribution of agriculture to the country's GDP," through the implementation of its "Green Scheme policy to develop irrigation based agricultural production." This finally will lead to a further industrialisation of the Namibian agricultural sector.
According to the Windhoek government, the project at Tandjieskoppe is to involve the production of grapes, dates and vegetables with an aim of exporting these crops. The project's main activities were said to include the development of an irrigation infrastructure, crop development and establishing "farm and social infrastructure."
- An important aspect of this project is the design which follows the Green Scheme concept already tested and found to be a useful vehicle to build local capacity, alleviate income inequality and provide the poor segment of Namibian population access to the country's economic base, according to the project's official description.
The concept involves joint venture between small-scale and commercial farmers, which is in line with the Namibian policy of a more just resource allocation between the country's different peoples. At the same time, a land reform is aiming at redistributing land from the country's mostly white commercial farmers to poor farmers of African descent.
While the highly politicised land reform only makes slow progresses, the irrigation of new land however is bringing hope to the poor farmers. The Green Scheme project is to build capacities "by fully training the small-scale beneficiaries to independently handle irrigation, management and marketing of the target crops."
A total of 260 small-scale and 13 medium-scale farmers are set to benefit from the project, according to government figures. The total project cost is estimated at rand 358.77 million, while the ADB loan represents 59 percent of the total cost of the project. The project is also to receive funding from BADEA, OPEC Fund and the government of Namibia.
Also national exports are set to benefit. Namibia already has proven a successful producer and exporter in the world's livestock market. Namibia and Botswana are the only developing countries that have sufficiently developed quality controls to be allowed to export meat to the lucrative European market. Industrialised livestock production is therefore becoming a major industry in the two countries.
As Namibia opts to increase and industrialise its crop production, the country is also hoping to achieve quality approvals by European standards, that would enable the country to export more to this difficult market.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.