Farmers should diversify to survive drought: Gaseb

Agricultural Bank of Namibia (AgriBank) mentor for the Kunene and Erongo regions, Arnold Gaseb said farmers must continue to diversify their farming amidst the drought that Namibia is experiencing to ensure survival. Gaseb made the remarks on the sideline of a stakeholder engagement session at Africa Safari Lodge at Mariental on Thursday. The session was organised by AgriBank's agri advisory service division for their 13 mentors from across the country. 'During COVID-19 many farmers lost animals and even during the drought they are losing animals, so we encourage them to come up with an approach of diversifying, where we not only focus on livestock farming, but we farm with other products such as crops, poultry and pigs so that we can survive,' he said. Gaseb urged farmers to start treating farming as a business so that they can make a living out of it and improve their living standard, saying it is important that stakeholders in the farming industry work together and pull resources together for the benef it of the farmers. 'Stakeholders should pull in the same direction to avoid duplication of services to the farmers, so if all the stakeholders can collaborate in training farmers and giving out information so that the limited resources are available to all the farmers,' he said. The session, according to Agribank public relations officer, Fillemon Nangonya aims to capacitate the mentors with the necessary information so that the bank's clients are aware of all the products available at their disposal to ensure success in their farming. 'We have gathered here for the last two days, just to strategise on the way forward given the roaming drought that is approaching. We want to expose our mentors and technical advisors to the various opportunities that are available in the industry, to ensure that when they engage with our clients they are fully equipped in terms of opportunities and challenges and how they can address the challenges, especially in the interest of alleviating the impact of the drought,' he sa id. Participants in the meeting included officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Namibia Development Bank, the Livestock and Livestock Products Board, the Environmental Fund and the Namibia Agronomic Board. Source: Namibia Press Agency