Land is no more a predicament for investment in the horticulture sector as Namibia is a vast country with 823 290 square kilometres.
This was the view of the manager for horticulture market development at the Namibian Agronomic Board, Emilie Abraham.
She made these remarks last week in Davos at the World Economic Forum that concluded on Thursday.
“The country is blessed with arable land. This is suitable land that is deep and good for crop production. All you need to do is to turn the land to be productive and grow your produce, then the return on investment is guaranteed,” Abraham stated.
Despite the vastness of the country, Namibia still remains a net importer of crops.
She noted that about 60% of agronomic products come from outside Namibia, including wheat (96%) and maize (50%). Also, some 65% of horticulture products come from outside, comprising mainly fruits (97%) and potatoes (65%).
“The crop subsector is underdeveloped, and thus huge investments are required. We are looking for investors not only to produce potatoes, but also to produce seed potato. Seed potato is one of the challenges because small-scale producers want to produce, but there are bottlenecks to access or order potato seed from other countries,” she explained.
Furthermore, total exports for the sector for 2021/22 stood at 58 481 tonnes, worth over N$1 billion.
Abraham proclaimed that investment opportunities lie in the production and expansion of table grapes, dates, blueberries, potatoes, wheat and maize, with emerging opportunities in nuts and oilseed production.
“Oil has become very expensive, and this is thus a great opportunity to produce oilseed in Namibia,” she added.
In April 2022, prices for oils and fats rose by about 23%, compared to 7.5% recorded during the same time a year earlier.
Abraham observed that it is high time for Namibia to add value to its products, stating that importing many goods that can be produced in the country is the same as exporting much-needed job opportunities.
Opportunities abound in agriculture, which would create much-needed jobs and produce much-needed food, she noted. “There are favourable climate conditions, good infrastructure, adequate water with a stable political and economic environment,” she said in wooing investors.