Windhoek — Namibia has an abundance of raw materials, such as phosphate and calcite to produce fertilizers for the domestic market.
“We have in the country some raw materials that can be used for fertilizers. We only need an investor with expertise to add value. The only thing that perhaps needs to be imported is nitrates, which are used for mixing,” Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Anna Shigwedha, said.
Most of the fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals used in the country, she said, are imported and the increase in prices just makes it unaffordable for farmers.
“They have become expensive because you have to add your transport costs from wherever they come from, and when they reach here, those are all added costs for the farmer,” she added.
Shigwedha said Government wants to bring inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides closer to home “by putting up facilities in the country from where they can be obtained at relatively affordable cost”.
In a bid to realise the plan to produce own agricultural inputs, the ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Namibia Manufacturers Association, is planning to host the country’s first-ever Agricultural Investment Conference in September.
The conference’s objective is to bring together farmers, traders in agricultural pro-ducts, policy-makers, manufacturers of technology and agricultural inputs, and financing agencies, with the view to attract investment to the sector.
“The current situation of importing fertilizer is not very cost-effective to the farmer. We can have chemical plants in the country and have them available at short notice,” she said.
Shigwedha said the country experiences a lot of insect outbreaks such as locusts.
“If you have an outbreak of locusts, you don’t have time to wait for months for imports from abroad, you need them immediately,” she said.
She noted that most investors are scared to invest because of Namibia being a small country population-wise.
“But if you put up a fertilizer plant, you can also look at other neighbouring countries like Angola to support. We have one common market like SADC that we can make use of. We will not only sell to the Namibian market but also the SADC market, especially Angola and Zambia,” Shigwedha said.
The agricultural investment conference will take place from September 15 -17, 2010 in the capital.
Source: New Era Image: .aeconline.ae